A Hysterical Map of the Yellowstone Park with Apologies to the Park. Smileage Guaranteed.
1948 (dated) 16 x 16 in (40.64 x 40.64 cm)
A cheerful 1948 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. The map presents the major roadways through the park 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)
- Gibbon Falls (Are Ya Hurt?)
- Grand Canyon (Don't Think it Ain't)
- Wahb Springs (Just a Little Cold in the Head)
- Yellowstone Falls (And How)
Also, the compass reads. 'This Part is Correct So 'Elp Me.'
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.' The first edition of this map was made during the height of 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 in the New Deal than in the entire history of the park to that time. Moreover, it has 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 going through 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. There are at least three editions of this specific map. The first, 1936, has a solid blue border. Another edition was issued slightly later with a shaded blue border and a green title cartouche. A third edition, seen here, appeared in 1948 with a mileage chart overlaying Pitchstone Plateau, a new copyright, and some changes to the map itself. This map was created and drawn by Jolly Lindgren and published by Lindgren Brothers of Spokane, Washington in 1948.
Lindgren Brothers (fl. c. 1932 – c. 1955) was a Spokane, Washington, based printer known for issuing humorous souvenir auto decals and posters. The firm was founded by Jolly Elmer Lindgren (1895 - September 1952) and his brother Oscar S. Lindgren. Jolly was in charge of the art department. The company began as printers and sign makers, but 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, 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. Jolly died unexpectedly at 57 while on vacation to Boise Idaho. The firm continued under his brother, Oscar, but the 'Hysterical Maps' were no more.
Very good. Wear along original fold lines. Closed tear extending one inch into printed area from left side professionally repaired on verso. Loss to upper right corner professionally repaired on verso. Blank on verso.
Hornsby, Stephen J., Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps, p. 58. Rumsey 10036.000. OCLC 41588954.