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Exhibit of Pictorial Maps at Branner Library

Before the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the map collection at Branner Library consisted mostly of geologic and topographic maps.  Stanford's "Central Map Collection," which had resided in the badly-damaged west wing of Green Library, was subsequently transferred to Branner.

Among the many thematic maps acquired after that time were a number of fanciful "pictorial maps," some of the most interesting being from the 1930's.

For example, there is a 1937 Dole Pineapple map of the Hawaiian Islands, with pictures of boats, fish, cattle, surfers, wildlife, palm trees and airplanes.  The top margin displays distinctive Hawaiian flowers, and the bottom margin shows fish.  The Hawaiian Pineapple Co., Ltd., prepared and distributed this map, presumably to attract visitors.

The Dole Map of the Hawaiian Islands, U.S.A.  Found at

 This is a zoomed in look at Miami.

Similarly, a 1938 road map of Florida shows different tourist attractions.  It includes a fishing chart of 30 species, where to catch them, and best seasons for fishing.  Red snappers reside in the Gulf of Mexico, near Naples, FL. Meanwhile, women bathe at the beach near Miami, FL. It's a large road map - 40 in. x 18 in., and the verso consists of major cities, and Cuba.

Florida. Chicago: Rand McNally and Co., 1938. Found at

The "cartograph" of San Mateo county, dating from the early 1950's, was limned by Ruth Taylor, an artisit who created numerous pictorial maps, usually tourist-oriented, from the 1930's on.  Note the pastoral areas surrounding Stanford: prune orchards, berry farms, a farmer with his mule and hoe, next to the "Bayshore Highway."

 An Invitation to California's San Mateo County. San Francisco, Calif.: 195?. Found at


Americans were not the only publishers of pictorial maps, as the large (36" x 48") map of "Deutschland in den Grenzen von 1937" illustrates.  Full of forests and castles, churches and factories, farms and rivers, this map includes coats of arms of major cities.  The depiction of ocean bathers in the German map is quite a contrast to the Florida map.

Deutschland In Den Grenzen Von 1937.  Found at

All of these items and more are on display in the Branner Library exhibit case on the 2nd floor of the Mitchell Earth Sciences Building from Monday, May 4 - Friday, May 8, 2015.

This exhibit is part of the anniversary celebration commemorating the 100th year since the founding of the Branner Earth Sciences Library & Map Collections (June 14, 1915 - June 15, 2015.)
Counting down to the anniversary on June 14, each week we will be exhibiting items from our collection and archive. This exhibition is part of an ongoing series of anniversary events that culminate with a public celebration, speakers, and tour of the library on Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 4-6:30pm. Please be sure to join us!