Thursday, April 7, 2016

States on Stage (1884)

Chicago designers Trowbridge and Petford developed this advertising map for H.W. Hill & Company, the nation's largest manufacturer of hog rings. Hill had utilized the cartographic format for a previous promotional effort, his Map of the United States, Showing the Farm Animals in Each State (1878).

While the earlier ad incorporated Department of Agriculture data, the 1884 map employed cartoonish pigs to represent each state's common nickname. William Eugene Sutphin Trowbridge, a designer, and Charles E. Petford, the Haverly Theatre's scenic artist, combined forces for Hill's Advertising Department.  They created a colorful map revealed through stage curtains by a porcine clown and an impresario.

Dakota Territory and Louisiana are the only regions that feature architectural elements, with a Native American tepee representing "In the Land of the Dakotas" and an ornamental balustrade suggesting the Creole state. Iowa's Hawkeye has a bird's eye view of a railroad bridge, a steamboat and a distant town. Vermont's "Granite State Boys" features a monumental pig statue.

Potential customers could purchase the map for merely 5¢.

Image above:  Nicknames of the States. Decatur, IL: H.W. Hill & Co., 1884. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. URL:

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