Rare first edition of Humbead’s Revised Map of the World (1968)

Concept: Earl Crabb / Art: Rick Shubb, HUMBEAD’S REVISED MAP OF THE WORLD WITH LIST OF POPULATION. Berkeley: Humbead Enterprises, 1968.
Separately-issued map printed in color halftone, 21”h x 16”w at neat line. Gently toned, abrasions at corners from removal of old cello tape.

A justly-iconic product of the late-60s, Humbead’s Revised Map distills the world to its essentials, or at least to the places and people most “top of mind” for the American counterculture.

 The map depicts the world as consolidated in a single, psychedelic Pangaea comprising Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, New York City and Cambridge, with small territories allotted to North Africa, Southeast Asia and Boston. The overall effect is something like a hippie version of Pangaea, the supercontinent that 200 million years ago actually contained much of the Earth’s landmass. The compass rose features the four cardinal directions of up, down, left and right. Off the left shore (not the West shore) are two small islands (“Rest of the World” and “Nashville”), and the ocean is surrounded by the names of more than a thousand people, everyone from leading lights of contemporary culture such as Dr. Seuss, Huey Newton and Allen Ginsberg to personal friends of the mapmakers.

The map was the product of a collaboration between computer programming pioneer Earl Crabb, who is said to have sketched the map on a napkin or similar scrap, and musician and graphic artist Rick Shubb. Their work received an enthusiastic review from the Berkeley Barb:  

“Certainly, the most astonishing document to come from the underground presses is Humbead’s Revised Map of the World With List of Population. It provides the independent verification of the fallacy of space, and that pernicious reasoning that makes New York and Berkeley seem far apart on normal maps. Everyone knows that what’s important is people, not distances, and now for the first time we have a map recognizing this.” (Berkeley Barb, March 1-7, 1968, cited Aug. 23, 2021 at “Humbead’s Revised Map of the World (With List of Population)” on bigthink.com)

Once upon a time Rick Shubb’s web site had a long reminiscence on the origins of Humbead’s Revised Map, but as of August 2021 the link is dead. It is fortunately quoted at some length on the web site of my colleague Rod Barron. A more conceptual discussion, though perhaps overly focused on the folk-music angle, may be found at “Revising Humbead’s Revised Map of the World”, on the web site of cultural commentator Michael J. Kramer.

A second edition appeared in 1969, with the date changed, adjustments to the color scheme, revisions to the names in the border, and the imprint moved to the lower left. The map was completely re-drawn and a new edition published in 1970.

In all, an iconic and imaginative map reflecting the “out of the box” thinking of the Sixties and early Seventies counterculture.

Rumsey #11748. OCLC 1130758162 (California Historical Society only, as of June 2022).