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Map, Military, Civil War, Pictorial, Robert E. Lee, Vintage Print, 1949


Karl Smith
Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)
Karl Smith, Charlotte, North Carolina: 1949
Color process print
Signed in the matrix, lower right: Karl Smith
16 x 22.25 inches, image
18.75 x 25 inches, overall

Historical pictorial map of the life of Robert E. Lee centered on the portion of Virginia between the Chesapeake Bay and the Shenandoah Valley. The map includes his birthplace and sites of battles in which he led the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. The map also includes portions of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. and the Chesapeake Bay coastline is delineated in detail. Rivers, major cities and Civil War battle sites are labeled, and mountain ranges are drawn pictorially to show the topography. There are eight small inset illustrations of landmarks and historic events along the top, left, and right. In the center of these is an oval portrait of Lee above the map title upper center. There is a detailed inset genealogy of Lee decorated with family seals lower left, next to an inset box containing a timeline of events in his life.

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The map also illustrates “Important Events and Operations of the Civil War with which General Robert E. Lee was chiefly concerned” and a large illustration of Stratford Plantation where he was born. In addition it shows Lee with other Confederate generals, an illustration based on a mural painted in the 1910s by Charles Hoffbauer and installed with other murals in what was called the “Battle Abbey” at the headquarters of the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.  There is a compass rose in the Chesapeake Bay. The map is printed in shades of tan, blue, red and green with black outlining, and enclosed within a decorative border.

Karl Smith was a designer and illustrator of pictorial maps. His primary career was as an executive in the paper and graphic arts industries, but he drew maps as an avocation. Smith was also an active amateur historian who amassed a major collection on heraldry and genealogy and presented lectures on printing, paper, color, heraldry, and the life of Benjamin Franklin. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Speed Art Museum (then the J.B. Speed Art Museum) in Louisville, Kentucky, commissioned Karl Smith to make a series of pictorial maps of the states. In 1959 he created a series of four historical pictorial maps of the United States for Linweave Paper Company, showing the nation’s growth and development from the colonial era to the present. Over the course of his career he produced maps of North Carolina, Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, the Stratford Plantation in Virginia, and historical maps of the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee.

Condition:  Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, also backed on Japanese tissue to restore minor short tear marginal tears, and a few creases and pin holes from former hanging in corners.


“Growth and development of America in maps by Linweave.” Springfield, Massachusetts: Linweave Paper Company, 1959. Online at: David Rumsey Map Collection.–Growth-and-development-o?qvq=w4s:/who%2FSmith%2C%2BKarl;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=4&trs=30 (16 April 2019).

Hornsby, Stephen J. Picturing America, The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. pp. 166-67.

“Images by Smith, Karl.” David Rumsey Map Collection.,+Karl (16 April 2019).

Additional information


20th Century