A cheerful 1936 pictorial map of Yellowstone Park, 'hatched and scratched' by the American printer and humorist Jolly Elmer Lindgren. The map depicts the whole of Yellowstone Park with a richly humorous array of vignettes and annotations. Major roadways through the park are marked in red with important locations, topography, and more illustrated pictorially. As the title suggests, 'smilage' is guaranteed to the viewer. Some of the amusing annotations include:
- Brimstone Basin (Hell for Certain)
- Gibbons Falls (Are ya Hurt?)
- Grand Canyon (Don't Think it Ain't)
- Wahb Springs (Just a Little Cold in the Head)
One comment incorporated into the map stands out. In the upper right a giant mosquito with a speech bubble states, 'Looks Like a New Deal for the Park,' a reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'New Deal.' Although the country as a whole was suffering from the Great Depression, the national parks, as part of the 'New Deal' program, received unprecedented government support. Many of the most popular New Deal programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, were focused on national parks. Yellowstone alone saw more infrastructure construction because of the the New Deal than in the entire history of the park up to that time. It has moreover been argued that the bright colors and humorous nature of the map are intended to inspire good spirits against the backdrop of national social and economic depression – but such might be said of the entire genre of cartoon pictorial maps which were experiencing a golden age at this time.
This map was part of a series of maps drawn by Jolly Elmer Lindgren. Called 'Hysterical Maps' to differentiate their style and intention from the more common 'historical maps,' there are sister maps of several other great national parks as well as some universities. At least three editions of this specific map were published. The first, as seen here, has a solid blue border. Another edition was issued slightly later with a shaded blue border and a green title cartouche. A third edition appeared in 1948 with a mileage chart overlaying Pitchstone Plateau, a new copyright, and some changes to the map itself.
Lindgren Brothers (1928 – 1971) was a Spokane, Washington, based printer known for issuing humorous souvenir auto decals, maps, and posters. The firm was founded by Hjalmer 'Jolly' Lindgren (1895 - September 1952) and his brother Oscar 'Ott' Lindgren (1893 - 1967), born in Wisconsin to Swedish immigrants. Neither brother had middle names when they went off to fight in World War I (1914 - 1818), but as the government required it, they adopted Jolly and Ott, which stuck with them for life. Jolly was in charge of the art department and Ott was in charge of the business aspects of the firm. The company began as printers and sign makers, and also became innovators in screen printing, and as the Depression deepened, Jolly began producing 'hysterical maps'. He declared at the time, ‘What this country needs now is something to put a smile on people's faces.' The maps are graphically interesting and intended, as the titles suggest, to amuse. The brothers focused on producing maps of popular tourist attractions, and the great national parks of the West were an obvious choice. They produced maps of Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Glacier, Zion, Bryce Canyon and others through the early 1940s. Following a hiatus during World War II (1939 - 1945), the company began producing car decals, some of which were simplified versions of the ‘hysterical maps'. The company sold more than ten million decals in a good year. In 1949, the company was renamed the Lindgren-Turner Company when their traveling salesman, Theodore 'Ted' Turner, Jr. (1902 - 1989), who had been with the firm since 1930, became a partner. Jolly died unexpectedly at 57 while visiting his daughter in Boise, Idaho. The firm continued under his brother, Oscar. William Terao (1915 - 1990), who was hired after World War II by the Lindgrens and eventually became the firm's art director, created two more hysterical maps following Jolly's death. The company's last great success, after the decal market had become too competitive, was a sign that read 'No Trespassing, Survivors will be Prosecuted'. The signs became a massive success, eventually being sold in every Woolworth's department store nationwide - all 2,228 locations. Ott died in 1967 at the age of 74, leaving Turner as the last member of the original team. He, in turn, sold the firm to the Emblem Manufacturing Company based in Los Angeles, in February 1971 and he and his wife moved to New Mexico three years later to be closer to their daughter. Turner wrote a history of the Lindgren-Turner Company during his retirement and died at the age of 87 in 1989. More by this mapmaker...
Very good. Blank on verso. Slight wear on original fold lines.
Rumsey 6788.000. OCLC 41588950.