Anti-Prohibition map of the Isle of Pleasure


One of the great persuasive maps of the Prohibition era, Map Showing Isle of Pleasure.

I take the liberty of quoting P.J. Mode’s description of his copy of the map:

“This large satirical map lampoons Prohibition in its final days, before it was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. The island, in the shape of a human skull, is labeled “State of Inebriation,” and the entire map is “replete with anti-prohibition satire, jokes, puns, alcoholic references & liquor names and innumerable double-entendres & word plays.” (Rod Barron, “U.S. Comic Maps and the Prohibition Era, 1920-1933–Part 1”) … Barron details a substantial number of these. In the “Prohibition Sea (very little water)” to the left of the island, a sailing ship labeled “18th Amendment” is indeed “Sinking into Oblivion,” with a figure labeled “Volstead” clinging to the topmast. Although I’m aware of no maps attacking prohibition before it became the law of the land in 1919, this is not the only satirical map thereafter. See … Held, A Map for the “Scofflaw,” 1931.


“Jefferson had worked on a magazine at the University of Virginia dedicated to “wit, humour and artistic caricature,” and was a young architect in Houston at the time he made this map; the “Long Tall” building at the lower right “bears a striking resemblance to” an iconic bank building his firm had completed in 1929… It is possible that he took much of this map from a little-known 1925 map by Ernest Clegg and Arthur Crisp. (Barron)”

Another satirical map attacking Prohibition is Edward McCandish’s Bootlegger’s Map of the United States, which appeared in the 1920s. To my mind, though Map Showing Isle of Pleasure remains the most fully-realized example of the genre.

Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection, #2192.