Mammoth map publisher’s promotional album

THE BLUE BOOK OF MAP MAKING / AMERICA’S MAP MAKERS. Buffalo and New York: Whitney-Graham Co., [ca. 1929-30].
Elephant folio (23”h x 17 ½”w) in blue buckram with printed label on front board. 1 page of text on heavy blue stock plus 13 cardstock leaves bearing a total of 20 pasted-on maps. Maps printed in color offset and ranging from 11”h x 15 ¼”w to 19 ¼”h x 40 ½”w at sheet edge.
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A striking and unusual promotional album issued by the Buffalo-based map publisher Whitney-Graham Company, featuring numerous maps of American rail and utility networks.

The album consists of a page of introductory text, followed by a total of 20 maps pasted on 13 leaves. An introductory page of text proudly states that the volume offers

“Unmistakable evidence of the highest art of quality craftsmanship is found in these exhibits, taken in each instance, from the actual press run.

 

“Some of America’s foremost railroads, public utilities, and publishing houses are represented in these specimens of the professional creative ability and modern mechanical equipment of the Whitney-Graham division of map making.”

The majority of the maps depict rail systems or utility networks in the northeast quadrant of the country, with an emphasis on the Midwest, though there is also a Standard Gas and Electric Company map of the United States, a telegraph map of the world, and small maps of Europe and the Adirondacks. Most of the maps are printed in a pleasing array of colors, while several are executed in the “pictorial” style then prevalent in this country. The most appealing is probably “Erie Railroad Serving the Heart of the Industrial Empire,” with coverage from New England to Indiana and flanked top and bottom by pictorial vignettes emphasizing American economic might.  Individually, the maps appear to be rare, with some having no entries in OCLC and the others with at most a handful of institutional holdings.

The maps bear dates of 1926-1929, giving 1929-1930 as a presumptive date of issue for the album. It is unrecorded in OCLC, which does list several dozen Whitney-Graham publications issued between 1927 and 1941. These are primarily maps, but the list also includes annual reports, books, brochures and pamphlets.

Condition

Some staining and a small tear to buckram, some maps with a few wrinkles and one with a short centerfold tear. Occasional show through of paste from verso of maps. Still very good for such a large and fragile production.