Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Story of a Cartophiliac

I have loved maps for as long as I can remember.

My father had a nice collection of atlases and a World Book Encyclopedia. I can remember spreading them out across the living room floor, studying them for hours. The World Book had multiple maps for each continent, showing flora, fauna a minerals of each continent, in addition to the topographical and political boundaries maps. He had world atlases, American atlases and historical atlases. The historical atlases were fascinating; to see the development of nations progress from page to page.

I made my own maps. I drew a map of my neighborhood in order to chart out the most efficient path for Halloween Trick-or-treating. I made up my own maps of Europe and Asia to imagine how Alexander's empire might have grown and developed if he hadn't died so young. Before I understood what global warming was, I drew a map of the United States after sea levels had risen, covering most of Florida, and forcing the capital to move from Washington, DC, to Columbus, Ohio...

In junior high school, a buddy and I, inspired by J.R.R. Tokien and other fantasy authors, created our own imaginary worlds. First they were the "ant countries" in our back yards. Later, realms of pure imagination with not only maps, but histories, flags, currency, and newspapers. In college, when I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons, I had a ready-made fantasy world in which to place the adventures when I became a Dungeon Master.

While I have pretty much stopped drawing my own maps (short of a doodle here and there) I have continued to collect them. Postcards, stamps, coffee mugs, posters, etc. But one day while perusing an information professional journal of one sort or another, I came across this ad:

What a clever idea! To use a road map as the cover of one of those old (not so old then) 5.25 inch floppy disks! The purpose of the map not to show a route, or how to find the store, but to invoke a feeling of adventure or the freedom of the road. Like any good advertising, it evokes an emotional result. I was so fascinated by this idea that I began looking for more like it.

In the entries that follow this one I will share other ads with "map as design element", as well as postcards, stamps and other odds and ends of map emphemera. I hope you enjoy it, or at least find it mildly amusing. If so, please share your comments, or links to other interseting map memorabilia online.

Who am I?

I am a librarian at the Main Branch of medium-sized city public library somewhere in the midwest. My big hobby, besides maps, is boardgaming. At some point, I have no doubt that I will blog about maps in boardgames. If you really need to know who I am, or get in touch with me, see contact info.

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At Monday, May 19, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I collect "View of the World" map coffee cups, but your postcards are grand. Very nice quality images, too. Thanks for the read!


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