This is a 1948 Irvin Shope pictorial map of the western United States highlighting the Oregon Trail and its offshoots. A thick red line highlights the Oregon Trail, and offshoots, such as the California Trail, are emphasized with dashed lines. Important waypoints are labeled, including Chimney Rock in Nebraska and South Pass in Wyoming. Other highlighted trails include the Santa Fe Trail, the Overland Stage Route, Lewis and Clark's route to the Pacific, and the celebrated Pony Express Route. Pictorial vignettes illustrate different aspects of the journey west. Covered wagons pulled by teams of oxen, Native Americans hunting bison and stalking settlers, and even a wagon floating across a river decorate the map. A stunning illustration of Fort Laramie and a covered wagon occupy the bottom portion of the map and truly encapsulate the popular stereotype of life in the Old West. Short captions offer historical facts about westward expansion. These note the importance of frontier forts, such as Bent's Fort and significant moments in westward exploration.
Publication History and CensusThis map was created and published by Irvin Shope in 1948. It is well represented in institutional collections but is scarce on the private market.
Irvin 'Shorty' Shope (1900 – November 22, 1977) was an American artist, particularly of the American West. Born in Boulder, Montana, and at the age of nineteen he began working as a ranch hand and rode the range intermittently until the age of thirty. He received a degree in fine arts from the University of Montana in 1933 and began seriously working as a commercial artist in 1935, although he had received commissions before then. He died in Helena, Montana, having lived nearly all his life in the West. Shope was also one of the founding members of the Cowboy Artists of America. Learn More...