A rare set of cartographic stencils from the Drawing Teacher, whose format, simplicity, and inexpensive construction all indicate that they were produced for educational use.
The set includes five continental stencils, one for the United States, and four for the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, southeastern and western states (It is impossible to verify, but the presence of the four regional stencils suggests that there may have originally been one for the Midwest as well.) Each stencil features a punched outline with continental, national and or state borders, as well as small punched holes indicating capitals and other major cities. Place names and mountain ranges are embossed, while major rivers are indicated by faint indentations.
Physical traces on the stencils indicate that they were produced by a two-step process: The cards were probably first dampened and pressed into a mold to produce the embossed features, then punched to produce the die-cut continental, national and state borders.
The stencils appeared as a set titled Drawing Teacher, a partial example of which is held in the David Rumsey Map Collection. They were housed in a small cardboard box with a printed cover, the inside of which bore the following instructions: “Follow all the openings in the pattern with a well and long pointed lead pencil or use a small stencil brush, taking care not to let the pattern slip, then finish and insert the names of the States and locate their Capital Cities.” Rumsey appears to hold the five continental as well as the United States stencil, but not the four regional stencils present here.
Two of the stencils bear the imprint “Made in Germany,” but there is no other publication information. However, OldMaps.com lists a set (now the Rumsey set?) bearing a Parker Brothers imprint, sold by Waverly Auctions in 2001. The Territories & c. stencil depicting the trans-Mississippi West includes the States of North and South Dakota, which entered the Union in 1890; as well as Indian Territory, which ceased to exist after Oklahoma entered the Union in 1907. The set can thus be dated with some confidence to ca. 1890-1907.
Rumsey #5529. Not in OCLC under Drawing Teacher title (March 2019).