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1940 Denoyer-Geppert Wall Map of Land Purchases by the United States

Territorial Acquisitions 1776-1866. - Main View

1940 Denoyer-Geppert Wall Map of Land Purchases by the United States


A striking visual presentation of how the United States expanded from the Atlantic to the Pacific - including the Republic of Texas!



Territorial Acquisitions 1776-1866.
  1940 (undated)     30.5 x 43.5 in (77.47 x 110.49 cm)     1 : 4752000


A visually striking piece, this is a c. 1940s Albert Bushnell Hart and Denoyer-Geppert Company wall map of the United States. The map depicts the continental United States from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and from Canada (labeled British Possessions) to Mexico. By using several different colors, this map displays how the United States gained its current territory. Beginning with the original thirteen states along the Atlantic Seabord, each different conquest, purchase, or cession expands the territorial borders of the United States. The various colors allow for quick recognition of each of these, and the labels add a timeline to the acquisitions. Explanations are included as well, where deemed appropriate, to illuminate aspects of some of the acquisitions. A relatively small number of cities are labeled, which lends an air of exploration and unknown to the land west of the original thirteen states. A few cities are included, which allows for easier orientation of how the current states fall into place on a map with very few state borders. Numerous rivers are also labeled. A key is located along the bottom border

This map was created by Albert Bushnell Hart with L. Philip Denoyer serving as geographer. The map was compiled and drawn by R. Baxter Blair and published by the Denoyer-Geppert Company of Chicago. It is number A12 in the Denoyer-Geppert Social Science map series. We have dated this map as c. 1940s due to the paper it is printed on. Several different editions of this map were printed, which allows for the possibility that this particular example could date from an earlier or later year.


The Denoyer-Geppert Company (1916 - 1984) was a Chicago-based publishing firm that dealt in maps, atlases, and spherical cartography (globes). For 68 years, the company played a critical role in the education of the world’s students. Founded in 1916 by Otto E. Geppert (the salesman) and L. Philip Denoyer (the cartographer/editor). Denier was born in Milwaukee in 1875 and was a high school principal by the age of 32. He was also completing graduate work at the University of Chicago at the same time. He was appointed the first Professor of Geology and Geography at the State Teacher’s College - La Crosse (University of Wisconsin) in 1909. Legend has it that Denoyer met Geppert while teaching one of his classes, when the latter came up from Chicago to sit in on one. Geppert was working as a salesman for A.J. Nystrom and Company, which today self-identifies as ‘the United States’ older publisher of wall maps and globes for classroom use.’ Geppert was there to sell Denoyer on joining the team at Nostrum, believing that his expertise could benefit the company. Three years later they founded the Denoyer-Geppert Company, and within six years had moved from a 500 square foot space into the 50,000 square foot Swedish-American Telephone Building. By 1922, their catalogue consisted of ‘1,200 maps, charts, globes, and associate aids in teaching geography and history and 800 brilliantly illuminated biological charts and anatomical models.’ In 1967, Denoyer-Geppert was contracted by NASA to build the first official and accurate ‘lunar globe’, based on information gathered by Apollo 10 astronauts. The company made 200 of these globes, the first of which was presented by the astronauts of Apollo 10 to President Nixon. Rand McNally, one of their major competitors, bought out their inventory of maps and globes in 1984. Denoyer-Geppert left the Swedish-American Telephone Building and reinvented the company as the Denoyer-Geppert Science Company, which specializes in anatomical models for classrooms. The Swedish-American Telephone Company has been named a historic landmark and was remodeled into loft apartments. Learn More...

Albert Bushnell Hart (July 1, 1854 - July 16, 1943), a member of the Harvard University faculty for 43 years, was an American historian, writer, and editor. Hart was one of the first generation of professionally trained historians in the United States and a prolific author. He graduated from Harvard in 1880 and went on to study in Paris, Berlin, and Freiburg. He received his doctorate at Freiburg in 1883. He returned to Harvard that year as the instructor of the American history course offered at the time and retired in 1926. Learn More...


Very good. Backed on linen. Attached to original rollers. Wear along the top roller. Measurment is for the map itself. Since the map is attached to rods, they add an another 2 inches in height and 3.5 inches in width.