Mary Ronin pictorial map celebrating American diversity

Mary [Jane] Ronin, THE UNITED STATES[:] The Land and the People. [No place: U.S. Department of State, 1958?]
Pictorial map printed in colors, diagram on reverse side printed in blue and black. 18 7/8”h x 27”w at sheet edge. Minor wear and soiling along folds, very good.

A colorful and upbeat pictorial map of the United States celebrating the “great diversity in its land and its people.” Drawn by Mary Ronin and published by the Department of State for the United States pavilion at the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, better known as Expo 58.

I quote at length from P.J. Mode’s description of the map on his Persuasive Maps web site:

“A “souvenir” promotional map issued in connection with the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition of 1958. The map, by Mary Ronin, focuses on America as a multi-national, multi-cultural nation. “It is a country of great diversity in its land and its people. The people are the most varied of all for they stem from countries and national origins throughout the world. But in their differences they share certain great traditions of America – freedom, equality, individual rights – taught in the home, the church, and the schools.”


“The map is covered with pictorial images of historical sites and Americans working and playing. Labels on each state show the principal national origins of the residents, for example, Danish, Dutch and German in South Dakota. Across the top are eight figures in stereotypical native clothing (kilt, sombrero, wooden shoes). On the verso is a guide map to the exhibits in the United States Pavilion.


“This map has much in common with Emma Bourne’s “America – A Nation of One People from Many Countries,” issued in 1940 by the Council Against Intolerance in America.”

Artist Mary Ronin is not well remembered today. In fact, the only biography of her I could locate on line was in Andrew Wilson’s Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith, as Highsmith and Ronin had an affair in the late 1950s. Wilson covers only the first half of her life, more or less up to the affair:

“Mary Jane Ronin was born on 18 December 1912 in Sycamore, Illinois, to Jas Ronin, a horsetrainer and his wife Blanch Darling, and spent her childhood in Nebraska. After studying art at Omaha University, she arrived in New York, age twenty-five, and in June 1938 started working the advertising art department of Bloomingdale’s…. ‘I drew everything they sold,’ she said. ‘Pots, pans, shoes, furniture – everything.’ From Bloomingdale’s, she moved to Young and Rubicam, where she took a position as an art director, one of the first female art directors in New York. After seven years with the advertising agency, she took a sabbatical year in France, returning to Manhattan in 1953 to freelance.”

Ronin worked thereafter as a book illustrator, and OCLC associates her with a number of works published between 1959 and 1971. She died in 1992 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection, 1360.