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Map, World, Pictorial, World War II Battles, Ernest Dudley Chase, Vintage Print, 1942 (Sold)

Ernest Dudley Chase (1878-1966) (after)
Total War Battle Map
Ernest Dudley Chase, Winchester, Massachusetts: 1942
Color-process print
Signed in pencil lower left
15.75 x 36.5 inches, overall

This item is sold. It has been placed here in our online archives as a service for researchers and collectors.

A patriotic World War II pictorial battle map of the world on Mercator’s projection, subtitled: “Certain Victory Will be Ours!” Published during the first year of U.S. entry into the war, the map orients the American viewer with numerous legends noting the distances between locations in the U.S. and theaters of the war, such as San Francisco to Manila. The legend contains symbols for British Possessions, joint British and U.S. possessions, U.S. possessions, Japanese, French, and Dutch possessions, pre-war boundaries, naval bases and railroads. Japanese- and German-occupied or controlled areas are shown in black. Inset pictures show U.S. weapons: coast artillery, mobile field gun, new anti-aircraft gun mounts by Westinghouse, a Yank Tank, and a Flying Fortress. Small illustrations of battleships and airplanes are shown in and above the oceans. The letter V peeks out from behind the cartouche and is worked into the design of the border, as explained in the inset caption: “A Battle Map, to set the stage For ‘total war’ on land and sea; And, in the border, just a hint — A prayer for total Victory!” Chase made at least one other related map, The Victory War Map (1942), which focused on the European theater, and is also on our website. The Harvard University Map Collection also owns copies of both maps.

Product description continues below.


In a biographical pamphlet on Chase published toward the end of World War II, author Tim Thrift asserts that Chase’s battle maps had helped the American public follow the war as it unfolded:

Thousands of his “Total War” maps have been used to follow the course of our armies and navies abroad. In fact, it is anticipated that many of the Chase maps — such as those for the British Isles, Italy, France, Germany, etc. — will be in great demand after the war by our men in the armed forces to show just where they have been, as the illustrations will mean much more than just pictures to them — they were in many of the buildings shown, saw the “points of interest” with their own eyes! (pp. 9-10)

A 1955 edition of this map, printed in different colors and with various modifications, including to the cartouche, is in the Harvard Map Collection (see References below).

Ernest Dudley Chase was one of the most prolific and renowned pictorial map artists of the 20th century, producing about 50 maps published from the 1930s to the 1960s. Chase’s maps cover a broad range of geographical locations and varied topics including historical and current events, architecture, and technology. They typically incorporate large numbers of minutely rendered illustrations with explanatory captions that blend a scholarly approach with wit, patriotism, and optimism. As works of graphic art they are finely drawn and composed with a decorative flair. The biographical pamphlet A Meticulous Maker of Maps describes Chase’s “passion for perfection,” executing the detailed pictures under a magnifying glass “dot by dot, with tiny pens.”

Chase was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and began his career as a graphic artist. He established his own greeting card company, which he sold to Rust Craft Publishers in 1920. He subsequently served in several managerial positions there until his retirement in 1958. He authored The Romance of Greeting Cards, the first complete history of the medium, published in 1926, with a revised edition in 1956. An avid traveler, he took numerous trips in the U.S. and abroad between 1922 to 1937. Chase began drawing maps at age 49, which he self-published from his home in Winchester, Massachusetts, principally in the 1930s and 1940s. Various companies also published his maps in the 1950s and 1960s, and his third wife, Clara Katrina Holland Chase, produced a popular map of Cape Cod, published by Trina Publishing or the Atlantic Card Company.

A large number of Chase’s maps depict his native New England, especially locales in Massachusetts. He made two different maps of the United States, one of them entitled America, The Wonderland. He also produced continental maps of North America, South America, and Europe, and a few of European countries. Maps such as World Wonders deal with past history, showing important sites of human civilization worldwide. Others are topical, such as patriotic maps published during World War II showing the European and Pacific theaters of war. The World United, published near the end of the war, and World Freedom, published after the war, express hope for a peaceful future. Some of his later maps of Alaska and Hawaii were issued shortly after they became states. He also produced a whimsical map of an imaginary Loveland, formed as a pink heart with romantic illustrations and captions, and a satirical map The United States as Viewed by California (Very Unofficial), exaggerating the proportions of the United States from the perspective of a Californian.

Chase donated many examples of his maps to the Harvard University Map Collection, Pusey Library, which featured them in the exhibition “The Pictorial Maps of Ernest Dudley Chase” from February to April 2003. According to the curators of the exhibit, Chase “designed pictorial maps ranging in scale from his own hometown to global themes of navigation, exploration, communication, and world peace. He could be alternately whimsical, didactic, and subtly allusive–often on the same map.” In 2009, the State Library of Massachusetts presented the exhibition “Ernest Dudley Chase: A Worldview in Maps,” showcasing his wide variety of works.


Cobb, David. “Re: Ernest Dudley Chase and Clara K. Chase.” E-mail correspondence to George Glazer Gallery dated 29 August 2005.

“Ernest Dudley Chase.” National Cyclopedia of American Biography. James T. White & Co., after 1966.

“Ernest Dudley Chase: A Worldview in Maps: Exhibit now on view at the State Library.” 22 May 2009. State Library of Massachusetts Blog. (22 July 2009).

“Harvard Map Collection Digital Maps.” Harvard College Library. (23 July 2009).

“Map of the Month.” September 2008. Boston Map Society. (22 July 2009).

“The Boston Map Society’s Upcoming Events.” Harvard Map Collection. 2002. (3 February 2003).

“The United States of America.” Harvard University Library Map Collection. and (28 July 2009).

Thrift, Tim. A Meticulous Maker of Maps. Boston: Ernest Dudley Chase, c. 1945. 12 pp.

Additional information


20th Century