1938 Ruth Taylor United Airlines Brochure, Pictorial Map of the United States

United Air Lines. A Gay Geography of the Main Line Airway. - Main View

1938 Ruth Taylor United Airlines Brochure, Pictorial Map of the United States


The NEW Overland Trail.


United Air Lines. A Gay Geography of the Main Line Airway.
  1938 (undated)     10.25 x 10 in (26.035 x 25.4 cm)     1 : 20500000


This is a lively c. 1938 pictorial map brochure for United Airlines drawn by Ruth Taylor White, based on her 1935 book Our U.S.A. - A Gay Geography . The maps show the airline’s Central Mid-Continent Route (or Main Line Airway) linking New York and San Francisco, with adjoining lines branching off in the Midwest and western United States. In the days before music and movies were available to airline passengers, this brochure would have provided badly-needed entertainment to fill the hours of cross-country flight time.
A Closer Look
The first map in the brochure shows United’s Central Mid-Continent Route and branch lines, emphasizing the national parks of the western U.S. Pictorial maps depicting northern and southern California with neighboring areas in Nevada are shown above and below text discussing cities and landmarks. Illustrations reference local industries, universities, communities, and history, such as pioneer trains and mining booms and busts, fitting with the airline’s theme of the air route running parallel to the 19th century east-west overland trail (which is discussed in more detail on the page titled ‘North Platte – Omaha’). Important events and sites in the history of aviation are also shown.

This layout continues into the next pages, covering the area from Reno to Salt Lake City, after which the pages are divided in half with illustrations at top and text at bottom. The same focus on the local culture, economy, and history of areas traversed by the flight path is maintained.

Typical of pictorial maps from this period, the illustrations resort to stereotypes that would be considered culturally and racially insensitive if not outright racist by today’s standards.
Publication History and Census
These pictorial maps were drawn by Ruth Taylor White and based on her work (with Frank. J. Taylor, her brother) Our U.S.A. - A Gay Geography, published in 1935. This brochure is undated but likely was produced in the late 1930s or early 1940s (the text refers to the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay while sailors and naval ships are shown at Long Beach, whose Naval Yard opened in 1943). This brochure is only known to be held by two institutions and is scarce to the market.


Ruth D. Taylor White (March 1896 - 20??), a.k.a. Ruth Taylor Day, was an American pictorial mapmaker, what she liked to call 'carto-graphy'. Ruth was born Oregon to the painter John S. Taylor (1858 - 1927). Her interest in cartographic mapmaking was probably inspired by her sister Della Taylor Hoss (1900 - 1997), also an important pictorial cartographer. One of her first published works was a cover of The Stanford Illustrated Review, where her brother Frank attended university. Frank was an accomplished journalist and writer, and Ruth provided the illustrations for two of his books, popular works about the national parks, ’Oh Ranger!’ A Book About the National Parks and Grand Canyon Country. In the spring of 1930, White traveled to Hawaii, where she received a commission from the Hawaii Tourist Bureau to create pictorial maps of the Hawaiian Islands. Sets of five maps began appearing in 1931, with maps of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and the island chain as part of the set. These were most likely handed out to visitors by the Bureau. White’s most famous work, a pictorial atlas entitled, Our USA: A Gay Geography was published in 1935 and was filled with ‘cartography’ of each state, which she published with her brother as Ruth Taylor. White is also known for her map of Treasure Island, the site of the Golden Gate International Exposition. A third sister, Bernice Taylor Fitzgerald, was also an artist, but did not make maps. Ruth was still an active artist as late as 1997. There is no record of her death, suggesting she may well be a centenarian. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Some minor wear along edges.


Rumsey 7824.001 - 7824.009. OCLC 39154107.