Gas stations weren’t the only place to get free road maps in the early 20th century. This map of the U.S. Midwest was distributed by the menswear clothing chain Richman Brothers.
Though the map is undated, we can confidently place it in the mid-1930s because of the price of the suits. Richman’s had simple pricing: From fall 1933 to spring 1937, $22.50 could buy you any suit or overcoat in the store ($412 by today’s prices). The style of the automobile also gives us a clue to the map’s date.
Richman Brothers was an innovative and progressive company. Their own factory in Cleveland manufactured all their products. Gifts of company stock and no-interest loans for home purchases were just some of the worker-friendly practices implemented by the three Richman brother founders.
Lansing, Michigan was home to a Richman’s store from 1921 to 1984, located on S. Washington, downtown.
Citation: Richman’s Official Road Map. Made by The Foreman-Bassett Company of Cleveland, Ohio circa 1935. Distributed by Richman Brothers, Inc.
This map will be on exhibit in the MSU Map Library starting October 30, 2014. It was a generous gift of Charles Schoenknecht and Ward A. Paul.
This world map is composed entirely of musical notation. It was created with the intention of viewing the world in musical terms. Specifically, as a symbol and model of harmony, or as the author prefers, ‘common threads.’ The entire composition is scored for 37 instruments and contains a total of 32 measures. The total playing time is approximately 40 seconds.
Wondering what it sounds like? This YouTube video performs the piece.
(detail from map)
Citation; World Beat Music. Made (and composed) by James Plakovic. Published in New York by MusicArt in 1996.
The map will be on exhibit in the MSU Map Library starting August 14, 2014.
Donetsk. From Ukraïna, [topohrafichna karta]: 1:200 000. Published in Kiev by ViĭsʹKovo-kartohrafichna Fabryka in 1997.
This detailed map of Donetsk Oblast shows the area where Malaysian flight 17 went down approximately 14:15 Greenwich Mean Time on Thursday July 17th, 2014.
This map will be on display in the MSU Map Library starting Friday July 18th, 2014.
Township map of Michigan, from the latest authorities. Published in New York by Ensign, Bridgman and Fanning in 1857.
Michigan was swarming with settlers in the 1850s, and as the rural population rose counties were organized, split, and reshaped at a fast pace. Settlers were eager to buy maps that reflected the newest information and relied on mapmakers to pay attention to such developments.
This map contains numerous errors in county boundaries. The Tuscola, Huron, and Lapeer County boundaries date from 1845. Charlevoix County had been eliminated in 1853. Leelanau and Manitou Counties had been created, but for some reason rarely appeared on any maps at this time.
Townships were the primary minor civil division in rural Michigan, and important for pinpointing land parcels. Those with enough population to organize a township government are named, while the blank townships are still unorganized.
MSU’s copy of this map is the only known surviving copy in existence. It was purchased with funds from the Tamara Brunnschweiler Geography Library Endowment Fund.
This map will be on exhibit in the MSU Map Library starting Thursday June 26, 2014. Also in the exhibit case is a 1854 Colton map of Michigan (gift of Michael DeGrow). This map was more accurate, though it also doesn’t show Leelanau County.For the full scanned image see MSU Map Library Scanned Maps.
Detail from Township map of Michigan shows the northwest lower peninsula
Bibliography of the printed maps of Michigan, 1804-1880, with a series of over one hundred reproductions of maps constituting an historical atlas of the Great lakes and Michigan. Written by Louis C. Karpinski and William Lee Jenks. Published in Lansing, Michigan by the Michigan historical commission in 1931.
Michigan. From Colton’s atlas of America. Published in New York by J. H. Colton & Co. in 1855.
Michigan. Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Compiled by Peggy Tuck Sinko and published in New York by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1997.
Чикаго [Chicago]. Compiled by E. M. Kolokoltseva, edited by L. I. Komarov. Published by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1961.
During the Cold War the Soviet Union created detailed maps of other parts of the world, including the United States. The US can hardly complain, though, as the US Army Map Service and its subsequent organizations mapped at the same time plenty of foreign countries themselves. The Soviet maps were highly classified, but began to leak out of Russia shortly after the breakup of the Eastern Bloc.
This map of the Chicago area was not a simple copy of an existing US map with only translated text. While it uses information from freely available US sources, the data were gathered from a variety of sources and re-cast to the particular mapping standards favored by the Soviets for all their mapping projects. This scale was intended for use by ground forces planning combat operations and troop movements.
This map was a generous gift of Dr. Kazuya Fujita. It will be on display in the MSU Map Library starting the week of April 22, 2014.
Detail from map
“Hot geospatial intelligence from a cold war: The Soviet military mapping of towns and cities.” An article published in 2013 in Cartography and Geographic Information Science (volume 40, issue 30), on pages 248-253.
Russian Military Mapping: A guide to using the most comprehensive source of global geospatial intelligence. A book translated from Russian and published in 2005 in Minneapolis by East View Cartographic.
Soviet military mapping. An article by David Watt published in 2005 in Sheetlines: The Newsletter of the Charles Close Society (vol 74), on pages 9-12.
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