• "Hysterical Map of the Yellowstone Park with Apologies to the Park." Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    Hysterical Map of the Yellowstone Park with Apologies to the Park.
    • Date
    • 1936
    • Creator
    • Lindgren Brothers.
    • Description
    • Color pictorial map. Humorous pictorial map "hatched & scratched by Jolly Lindgren" featuring the highlights of a visit to the park: showing hotels, peaks, lakes, geysers, etc. Relief shown pictorially and by spot heights. In 1933 the Lindgren Brothe... more
      Color pictorial map. Humorous pictorial map "hatched & scratched by Jolly Lindgren" featuring the highlights of a visit to the park: showing hotels, peaks, lakes, geysers, etc. Relief shown pictorially and by spot heights. In 1933 the Lindgren Brothers of Spokane, Washington began manufacturing colorful silk-screened maps depicting iconic national parks and other scenic areas. With emphasis on both verbal and visual humor, they titled these inexpensive tourist souvenirs "Hysterical Maps," seeking to distinguish them from historical maps. See note field above. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

  • "The Hawaiian Islands." Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    "The Hawaiian Islands".
    • Date
    • 1941
    • Creator
    • White, Ruth Taylor. Advertiser Publishing Co. Ltd.
    • Description
    • This side has maps of Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. This colored series of cartographs is specially arranged for and dedicated with smiles and flowers to the many welcome newcomers in Hawaii - nurses, sailors and soldiers, marines, war-workers and others wh... more
      This side has maps of Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. This colored series of cartographs is specially arranged for and dedicated with smiles and flowers to the many welcome newcomers in Hawaii - nurses, sailors and soldiers, marines, war-workers and others who are "all out" for a complete victory." In 1931, Stanford-educated map and book illustrator, Ruth Taylor White, visited the Hawaiian Islands and was inspired to produce a series of decorative maps. They were issued by the Honolulu Star Bulletin and given away by the Hawaii Tourist Bureau. Ruth Taylor White was quite prolific; she published hundreds of "cartographs" of the various states. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

  • "Recreational map of New Mexico." Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    Recreational map of New Mexico :
    • Date
    • 1959
    • Creator
    • New Mexico State Tourist Office.
    • Description
    • Double-sided. Color.
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

  • "Albert Richard Football map. Copyright 1938, Albert Richard Co. Milwaukee, Wis. F. R. Cheeseman." Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    Albert Richard Football map. Copyright 1938, Albert Richard Co. Milwaukee, Wis. F.R. Cheeseman
    • Date
    • 1930
    • Creator
    • Albert Richard Co. Cheeseman, E.E. Cheeseman. E.E.
    • Description
    • Color pictorial football map of the United States for 1938, focusing primarily on college teams. Showing locations and scores of major college championships. Illustrating players, cheerleaders, college banners, etc. Include "Key to official college n... more
      Color pictorial football map of the United States for 1938, focusing primarily on college teams. Showing locations and scores of major college championships. Illustrating players, cheerleaders, college banners, etc. Include "Key to official college nicknames". See note field above. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

With the growth of passenger railroads and the development of the national highway system, the twentieth century saw a large increase in personal leisure travel. Events such as World's Fairs and the rise of national sports leagues, as well as the creation of ambitious entertainment destinations like Disneyland and other amusement parks, brought about new types of maps designed for the American tourist.

While most travel maps provided accurate information about a given area to help plan transit routes, souvenir maps, created for regions or specific destinations, were designed to be both fun and functional. Cartoon imagery, photographs, and other art depicted popular tourist sites, local flora and fauna, and geographic highlights. Instead of purchasing these prior to a trip, travelers received them at their destination. Souvenir maps served the dual purpose of being a visually appealing keepsake as well a promotional tool to recruit more visitors.  

Crafted by park owners, town tourism boards, and industry-specific stakeholders, souvenir maps were widely available starting in the 1930s and continue to be prominent today.