The 1940s isn't an era we often visit here at the TNHG, but this romantic map from 1943 is too charming not to share. (Please go to this link to see the entire map with zoomable features for all the details.)
A Pictorial Map of Loveland is the work of Massachusetts graphic artist Ernest Dudley Chase (1878-1966), who was well known for his decorative, pictorial maps. Most of his maps showed actual states or regions, illustrated with drawings of the area's landmarks, buildings, famous people, or animals, and often included traditional cartographer's elements like compass roses, elaborate cartouches, and ornate hand lettering.
But this map is altogether different. Instead it shows the mythical, heart-shaped island of Loveland ("A place where everyone should go; Where Romance Thrives, and Friendships Dearer Grow") surrounded by Oceans of Joy, Sweetheart Sound, and the Bay of Bliss. In this country with state names like State of Admiration, dozens of jolly little couples engage in all kinds of courtship amidst a world of hearts and puns. I particularly liked how often the couples seem to be equals - whether playing sports or gazing happily at their future Home Sweet Home, not far from Line of Equality. There's none of that snarky women-as-cunning-huntresses or men-as-caveman-conquerors that so often turns up in comic interpretations of love. The only hint of a more passionate kind of love is the little couple in the back seat of their heart-shaped care, the label (S)Parking Permitted. Even that seems pretty wholesome, though, and the overall feeling is sweetly, cheerfully optimistic.
But if you look a little more closely, you can see hints that the war overseas is felt even here in Loveland. One little woman is waving farewell to her ship-born sweetie with the caption Kind Remembrance. Another is shown wistfully engaged in Wishful Thinking, while yet another is eagerly receiving Good News in a letter from the postman. But best of all is the couple joyfully kissing with Many Happy Returns – the ultimate goal of countless American couples in 1943.
Above: Detail of A Pictorial Map of Loveland by Ernest Dudley Chase, 1943. Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.