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Mapping Transportation in Chicago

Chicago’s prominence as a transportation, industrial, commercial, and printing center positioned it well to become a major center of cartographic production. By the turn of the twentieth century, Chicago  was home to the largest commercial cartographic publisher in the country, Rand, McNally & Co. Several other Chicago firms, notably, George S. Cram and Poole Brothers, specialized in cheaply produced maps for commercial use or mass markets of these firms specialized in inexpensive cartography. Their use of economical printing processes such as cerography (wax engraving) and lithography enabled customization and mass production of maps and atlases suitable to the needs of mass markets, education, transportation, and advertising. For Rand McNally and Poole Brothers, mapmaking was originally aspect of their service as job printers (printers for hire) for Chicago’s railroad sector. Others firms, such Rufus Blanchard (later George F. Cram) specialized in maps produced primarily for the local market.. Though Cram and Rand McNally evolved to become versatile and reputable publishers of maps and atlases for the national market, all of early Chicago mapmakers shared an approach deeply rooted in the promotional ethos of early Chicago. Oriented to the masses and readily adapted to the needs of advertisers, Chicago mapmakers were born of the railroads Chicago’s geographical position, and its expansive mercantile culture.

 

PRINT

Conzen, Michael P., ed. Chicago Mapmakers: Essays on the Rise of the City’s Map Trade. Chicago: Chicago Historical Society for the Chicago Map Society, 1984.

Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991.

Danzer, Gerald A. “George F. Cram and the American Perception of Space.” In Chicago Mapmakers: Essays on the Rise of the City’s Map Trade. Edited by Michael P. Conzen. . Chicago: Chicago Historical Society for the Chicago Map Society, 1984.

Dillon, Diane. "Mapping Enterprise:  Cartography and Commodification at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition," in Nineteenth-Century Geographies: Anglo-American Tactics of Space, ed. Helena Michie and Ronald Thomas. New Brunswick:  Rutgers University Press, 2003.

Gilbert, James. Perfect Cities: Chicago's Utopias of 1893. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

History, the City of Harvey, 1890–1962. Harvey, Illinois: First National Bank of Harvey, 1962.

Keating, Ann Durkin, Chicagoland: City and Suburbs in the Railroad Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Modelski, Andrew. Railroad Maps of North America: The First Hundred Years. Washington DC: United States Government Printing, 1984.

Musich, Jerry. “Mapping a Transcontinental Nation: Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century American Rail Travel Cartography,” in Cartographies of Travel and Navigation. Edited by James Akerman. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Peters, Cynthia. “Rand McNally and Company in the Nineteenth Century: Reaching for a National Market.” In Chicago Mapmakers: Essays on the Rise of the City’s Map Trade. Edited by Michael P. Conzen. Chicago: Chicago Historical Society for the Chicago Map Society, 1984.

Powell, Fred Wilbur. The Railroads of Mexico. Boston: Stratford, 1921.

Woodward, David. The All-American Map. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

WEB

Library of Congress. “History of Railroads and Maps.” http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/rrhtml/rrintro.html