The joy of ‘Pictorial Maps’

Apr 21, 2017
Stephen Hornsby

Belfast — Left Bank Books, 109 Church St., will host Stephen Hornsby, author of the just-published “Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps” (University of Chicago Press), Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend what will be an enlightening and entertaining presentation.

“Picturing America” documents the “golden age” of pictorial maps, from the 1920s to the 1970s and is the first book of its kind to showcase this vivid and popular genre of maps. Hornsby has gathered 158 delightful pictorial jewels, most drawn from the extensive collections of the Library of Congress.

Organized into six thematic sections, his book covers a vast swath of the pictorial map tradition, ranging from “Maps to Amuse” to “Maps for War.” Hornsby has unearthed the most fascinating and visually striking maps the United States has to offer including Disney cartoon maps, college campus maps, kooky state tourism ads, WWII promotional posters and many more.

Hornsby’s love of pictorial maps dates from his childhood, when his family lived in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and his mother, a teacher, had a map of Ceylon drawn by the influential British graphic artist MacDonald Gill. In addition to the hundreds of full-color images that are irresistible, Hornsby provides invaluable commentary, tracing the rise and fall of pictorial mapping.

Hornsby is director of the Canadian-American Center and professor of geography and Canadian studies at the University of Maine. He has authored and co-edited several prize-winning books, including the 2015 “Historical Atlas of Maine,” which won the Globe Award from the American Association of Geographers. His current research is focused on Maine and deals with ship owners, the antebellum cotton trade and the making of the state’s port towns.

To reserve a seat at this free event, call 338-9009 or email leftbank@myfairpoint.net. Left Bank Books is located in the historic Opera House block across from the police station; ample on-street parking is available in front of the shop and in an adjacent parking lot.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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