New Yorker's Idea of America
1930s Pictorial Map

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New Yorker's Idea
New Yorker's Idea New Yorker's Idea
Daniel K. Wallingford
A New Yorker's Idea of the United States of America
Columbia University Press, New York: 1937 (Encore edition)
Hand-colored print
7.25 x 10 inches, printed border
8.5 x 11 inches, overall
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This humorous map of the United States takes the perspective of a chauvinistic New Yorker for whom the rest of the country is irrelevant, at best, with New York State shown in oversized proportion to the entire country. Place names throughout the states are often incorrect or fictitious, satirizing a New Yorker’s lack of knowledge and interest in other parts of the country, for example, Minneapolis and Indianapolis are humorously shown together in Michigan as “The Twin Cities.” Decorative details include ships in the oceans, and various Art Deco views and images in the borders such as the Empire State Building and a Fifth Avenue Coach bus. Explanatory text is in two blocks on the left. This map predates by almost 40 years the well-known Saul Steinberg 1976 New Yorker cartoon titled A View of the World from Ninth Avenue that had a similar satirical point.

Wallingford’s map was first published by The Columbia University Press in small format, like this example, for the 1936 Times Book Fair. At that time, his address was listed as 54 Falmouth Street, Boston. A small format “Encore” edition was printed for the 1937 Times Book Fair with a note printed on the back by the publisher that it had “appealed so strongly to Fairgoers of 1936 that we have been persuaded to offer it again.” At this time, the address of Wallingford, the copyright holder, was listed as 222 Marlborough Street, Boston. These small format maps were issued in black and white, but sometimes hand-colored at the time or later.

The map was later redone in color in a larger format on glossy paper, apparently in connection with the 1939 New York World’s Fair, substantially similar, but with the addition of the New York World’s Fair grounds shown in Queens, New York. Wallingford’s address on this map is given as 452 West 144th Street. The Columbia University Press does not appear to have been involved in this publication. Wallingford also published a Bostonian’s Idea of the United States of America, similar in concept, in the 1950s, then at the address 64 West Ohio Street, Chicago, 10, Illinois. The Boston map was, in turn, reissued by Margaret G. Wallingford, 664 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, in the 1960s.

An example of the 1939 New Yorker’s Idea map, from the collection of the George Glazer Gallery, appears in the book You Are Here by Katharine Harmon, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004, p. 102.