Nicknames of the States … a porcine promotional by H. W. Hill & Co.

Mackwitz Sc. St. Louis / Trowbridge & Petford Des. Chi[cago] / “Printed in Our Own Advertising Department”, NICKNAMES OF THE STATES. Decatur, IL: H. W. Hill & Co., 1884.
Lithograph printed in color, 12”h x 22”w at neat line plus margins.Old folds, with some minor tears and separations mended on verso.

A colorful, clever, appealing and very rare cartographic promotional, published in 1884 by H.W. Hill & Co., the nation’s largest supplier of triangular hog rings, with which breeders pierced hogs’ snouts to deter their natural instinct for rooting. The rings are still manufactured today, but for more pedestrian uses such as fastening portions of wire fencing to fence posts.

The promotional features a map of the United States, with each state identified by its nickname and accompanied by an illustration of a pig exhibiting a corresponding character or actions. Thus for example the pig in Massachusetts, the “Bay State,” is baying at the moon; the pig in Louisiana, the “Tadpole” state, has the tail of a tadpole; and the pig in North Carolina, the “Tar Heel” state, tends a vat of boiling tar. At lower left a well-dressed and prosperous pig holds the two types of tongs used to attach a ring to a hog’s nose, while the lower right corner features a pig in a harlequin costume.

Nicknames of the States is in a sense the companion to another porcine-themed promotional map by H.W. Hill & Co., being the 1878 Map of the United States Showing the Farm Animals in Each State. Maps with a porcine theme seem to have experienced a minor surge in popularity in the last quarter of the 19th century; another example—one of this writer’s personal favorites—is the Porcineograph, printed in Boston in 1876 by the Forbes Lithographic Co.

Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection, #2240. As of May 2021, OCLC 62359528 (University of Minnesota-Minneapolis) and 1029765659 (Newberry Library), though another is held by the Library of Congress and Princeton. Not in Rumsey, and Antique Map Price Record lists no examples on the market in the past 30 years.


Old folds, with some minor tears and separations mended on verso.