Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Whimsical Perspective - Daniel K. Wallingford

If you've ever seen the whimsical, distorted maps that show the United States such the "Map of the United States as Californians See It" (1947), or the "A United States Map as the Floridian Sees It" (1948), or the New Yorker magazine covers by Saul Steinberg (1976), they all probably found their beginning in the these first maps of Daniel K. Wallingford.

Done with a wonderful tongue in cheek style, the maps slant the importance of parts of the country, exaggerating some parts and diminishing and chaotically mixing others as a pun of their irrelevance.
Perhaps his most popular, the "New Yorkers Idea of the United States of America" was published initially published 1928, and wonderfully jumbled the nation with a huge prejudice toward the world of NYC, Brooklyn and Staten Island. There were several different editions of the map which we've encountered including 1937, given away in relation to the Times Book Fair by the Columbia University Press. The following image is for the later edition which is estimated at 1939-40 for its "New York World's Fair" notation.

Wallingford's other early gem, was his "This Map Presents A Bostonian's Idea of The United States of America". Published c.1928, it has some comical surrounding commentary, and a heavily distorted map of the Cape Cod and Boston area, where little exists beyond Massachusett's western border. A small inset shows "Boston and its Environs". This instance with contemporary hand color.

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