Thematic map promoting Louisiana agriculture

Louisiana State Board of Agriculture and Immigration. J[ordan] G[ray] Lee, Commissioner / Rand McNally & Co., Map of Louisiana.  Baton Rouge, LA, 1899.
Large broadside (42 ½”h x 27 ¼”w at sheet edge) featuring a lithographic map (19”h x 26”w) printed in colors

This large, informative and surprisingly scarce broadside was an official document published by the Louisiana State Board of Agriculture and Immigration. The Board provided both regulation and technical support to the state’s agricultural sector while promoting its advantages to the rest of the country. For the decade beginning in 1896 its Commissioner was Jordan Gray Lee (1865-1945), whom the weekly Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer described as “able, energetic and untiring.” He later became the first professor of forestry at LSU and indeed is remembered as the “father of forestry in Louisiana.”

Dominating the broadside is a thematic map of the state, color-coded to indicate the agricultural potential of different regions. Light green, for example, indicates alluvial lands well suited to cotton production. Parish boundaries are shown, as are cities and towns, railroads, and waterways. At upper right is an inset with a large-scale map of the area around New Orleans. This is surrounded by two columns of text providing capsule descriptions of each parish and touting the state’s many advantages, including its “admirable” climate, “breezy and cool in Summer.”

I have not been able to locate another 19th-century copy of this map, though OCLC records copies issued by Rand McNally in 1901, 1902 and 1903, for a total of 12 holdings in all as of October 2015. By 1907 the Board shifted the contract to George Cram & Co., which produced a very different map.

Biographical information on Jordan Gray Lee from USGenWeb Archives.


Folds flattened, some loss to lower margin not affecting printed image, lined on verso