Bootleggers Map of the United States
Edward Gerstell McCandlish, c. 1924-26

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1920s Bootleggers United States Wall Map detail
detail detail
Edward Gerstell McCandlish (1887-1946) (after)
Bill Whiffletree's Bootlegger's Map of the United States
Hagstrom Company, New York: c. 1924-1926
Photo process print backed on linen with wooden rollers
25.5 x 32.5 inches
Sold, please inquire as to the availability of similar items.

Famous pictorial map of the United States during Prohibition, humorously satirizing the widespread disobedience of the anti-alcohol laws throughout the nation.McCandlish pokes fun at the ineffectiveness of the law in every region of the country using stereotypical regional characters such as an "Arkansas Traveler," three poker-playing Chicago policemen, and a drunken boating party off the coast of Baja California bearing the flag "Hollywood Producer's Ass." "Hops" are depicted as a circle of frogs, and a homemade distillery is labeled "Cotton Gin." A caption under the title reads "Honi soit gui mal y pints," a play on words on the motto of Great Britain.

The Prohibition Era began in 1919, with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, forbidding the sale or manufacture of alcoholic beverages. In 1932, after much debate, the Democratic Party made the repeal of prohibition part of their party's platform, a position supported by presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt. With the ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution in 1933, prohibition ended.

Several versions of this map were published. It originally appeared as a two-page spread in the Washington Post while the artist, Edward McCandlish, was a staff illustrator there. A color version was published c. 1924-1926 as Bill Whiffletree's Bootlegger's Map of the United States. A later version, published in 1941, has some of the same jokes and some similar illustrations to that one, but instead of satirizing the law via stereotypical regional characters, emphasizes puns on the names of states and cities.

Edward McCandlish was an illustrator, cartoonist, and writer of children's books. After a stint in the army as a painter during World War I, in which he designed camouflage, he worked as an illustrator and toy designer and attended art school in Philadelphia and Baltimore. He began publishing children's stories in Washington newspapers around 1923, and was hired in about 1924 by the Washington Post, where he worked as an editorial cartoonist and produced an illustrated Sunday column of the adventures of the "Bunny Tots," later reprinted as a series of books. His famous Bill Whiffletree's Bootlegger's Map of the United States was first published in the Post. It was also separately published, c. 1924-26, and even after Prohibition ended in an 1941 edition. McCandlish worked as an illustrator for the Detroit Free Press (1929-1933) and then returned to toy design and manufacture. In 1945 he ran a company called Allied Arts, where he published a series of humorous pictorial maps and created puzzles, games and wooden toys.

Full publication information: Hagstrom Company, 20 Vesey Street, New York


"Edward Gerstell McCandlish." (11 March 2003).

"Virtual Library of Edward McCandlish Children’s Book Illustrations." (4 August 2009).