The central image is a map of the United States, upon which illustrator F. E. Cheeseman has overlaid hundreds of images including football players in action as well as the seals, banners, and stadiums of major football schools. Small scrolls list the winners of the bowl games, while flags announce the conference champions. Insets around the main map include a small map locating the collegiate football conferences and the locations of the ten[!] major professional teams, along with a “key to locations, nicknames and 1939 record” of 244 college squads. The border lists, by school, all-American players over the past five decades. Professional football is mentioned, but only inconspicuously, an indicator of its subordinate status to the college game in the pre-war years.
The map was published as a promotional by Albert Richard Co., a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of men’s outerwear. It was probably touted in periodicals such as Boys’ Life magazine, whose readers were invited to order a copy gratis. Here for example is an advert for an early football map issued by the firm, the Pigskin Panorama.
“It’s entirely new and more colorful than ever before . . . a real Pigskin Panorama! The 1938 Albert Richard Football Map shows locations, official colors and nicknames of 236 leading colleges. Also major “Pro” teams. Identifies conference members and 1938 champions. A real man-size [!!!] (26 x 19 inches) decorative work of art! Lists Albert Richard 1938 All-American Teams and invites you to help pick this year’s outstanding eleven. You’ll want to hang it in your room for all your friends to admire. Be the first of your “gang” to have this handsomely illustrated Football map! Mail coupon below NOW for your FREE copy.
“You’ll prefer ALBERT RICHARD leather coats and mackinaws. They’re the choice of All-Americans.” (Boys’ Life, vol. XXIX, no. 9 (Sept. 1939), p. 41)
Albert Richard issued football maps in 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1941, all drawn by F. E. Cheeseman. Following the outbreak of the Second World War the firm and Cheeseman turned to more appropriate patriotic themes, such as the Patriotic Panorama of the United States (1942) and Aviation Cavalcade (1944). The football theme reappeared at least once, in 1950. This was the work of a new artist, G.E. Smith, who eschewed Cheeseman’s bold Art Deco style for a softer, mid-century look.
Rumsey #11884. Virga and Brinkely, Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States, pp. 300-301 (illus.)