“Universal Series Map of Western Hemisphere.” Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., ca. 1923. Separately issued map; dissected into 24 sections and mounted on linen. 55 x 39 1/4. Folded into cloth-covered boards. Chromolithograph. Light, scattered spots; with wear in upper right corner including old repairs; else, good condition. With insets, “Map of the World on Mercator’s Projection,” “Popular Map of North Polar Regions,” “Popular Map of South Polar Regions,” and “Popular Map of the Canal Zone.”
Large and colorful, this map offers a thorough, informative presentation of the American continents. Supplemented by inset maps of Mercator’s projection of the world and both polar regions, it would have been a useful teaching tool in the classroom or perhaps a handy reference in a personal library. In addition to the comprehensive map insets, the detailed image of the Panama Canal Zone highlighted the massive construction effort completed there in 1914. Since the days of early Spanish exploration, nations had looked for a way to bring ships through the Panamanian isthmus, and the United States’ successful completion of a canal cemented its position as a world power. Accompanying that mark of American pride on this map is an inset photograph of the United States Capitol building. Described with flowery prose, the copy writer compares the national landmark to such architectural wonders as the Louvre and St. Paul’s. In 1923, the economy was booming, the Great War had been won, and the United States remained the reigning power in the Western Hemisphere — all factors contributing to the deep-seated feeling of national security that is reflected in this fascinating map.