An immensely witty imaginary map lampooning Prohibition, just a couple of years before its repeal in 1933. The map’s central feature is the skull-shaped Isle of Pleasure and its primary political unit, the “State of Inebriation.” The island and its surrounding waters are “replete with anti-prohibition satire, jokes, puns, alcoholic references & liquor names and innumerable double-entendres & word plays.” (Barron)
To give but a few examples: The coast of the Isle of Pleasure is indented by “Port Wine,” “Cocktail inlet,” and “Bay Rum,” while to the east lie “Beer Flats,” “Sand Bar” and “Whis-Keys.” After arriving by rail at the “Liquor Depot,” visitors are greeted by a sign reading “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.” After taking in the view from the “Lit House” out to “Intoxication Point,” visitors looking to relax can take a dip in “Lake Champagne,” catch a game at the “High-Ball Grounds,” or meet friends at the “Canadian Club.” Out in the “Prohibition Sea” a ship named the “18th Amendment” sinks “into oblivion,” while “Volstead” (i.e., Minnesota Congressman Andrew Volstead, who championed the National Prohibition Act of 1919, which put the Amendment into effect.
In recent years the map has appeared not infrequently on the market, perhaps averaging once a year or so. I have however never seen it accompanied by the small explanatory broadside present here. It begins as follows:
“ISLE OF PLEASURE, or “I Love Pleasure,” as it may be interpreted, is a fanciful map of a Utopian land, depicted in the manner of an old Spanish Chart. [Really?] The subject chosen by the artist is one from which all of us derive a big “kick” . . . whiskey.”
The broadside bears neither contact information nor pricing, which suggests that it was printed not as an advert, but rather to accompany examples of the map.
After studying at the University of Virginia, mapmaker Henry Jefferson Lawrence (1900-1986) worked as an architect in Houston, presumably finding enough spare time to enjoy the high life. A building at the map’s far lower right, labeled “A Long Tall One,” closely resembles one built by his firm in the 1920s. Though in no way a direct copy, the map bears a striking resemblance to Pleasure Island or the Bootleggers Paradise, a satirical anti-Prohibition map published in New York in 1925 by mapmaker Ernest Clegg and artist Arthur Crisp.
Hornsby, Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps, pp. 59, 73 (illus.) OCLC 1090067565 (New York Public and Texas A&M only), as of July 2021. Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection, #2192. Terrific background provided by Rod Barron, “U.S. Comic Maps and the Prohibition Era, 1920-1933-Part 1” at barronmaps.com.