Finely executed pictorial map of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, published by Frank Dorn.
This is Frank Dorn's first pictorial map after returning from the Philippines. It was prepared during his years as an instructor at the Fort Sill Field Artillery school (1930-33), prior to his transfer overseas to China, where he would go on to produce several other pictorial maps, including iconic pictorial map of Beijing
The map provides a lively image of the area around Fort Sill, including lots of recreational activities and historical vignettes. At the left is a history of the region, from indigenous Indians and the arrival of Coronado in 1542 to the Louisiana Purchase. At the top and right, a more modern local history is shown, from the days of the Indian control of the region to the "Great Rush", Oklahoma Statehood and the very local history around Fort Sill.
Dorn was a friend and admirer of the pictorial mapmaker Jo Mora (1876-1947) and was clearly influenced by Mora's style of combining accurate pictorial details, bright colors and a bit of whimsy, along with vignettes providing an illustrated history of the place.
Frank Dorn was an artist, writer, and military officer. Growing up in San Francisco, he attended the San Francisco Art Institute and became an accomplished cartoonist. After graduation from West Point, he was assigned a post in the Philippines, and as a side project, wrote a book about a clan of tribal people he got to know there. An acquaintance of California artist Jo Mora, Dorn began making his own maps; an early one depicted Camp Stotsenburg in the Philippines.
While living in China, Dorn made his popular pictorial map of "Peiping". He later served in the field as an advisor to a Chinese army. A fluent speaker of Chinese, Dorn's most important military role was in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II. There he served with Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army forces, General "Uncle Joe" Stilwell, during the Burma campaign from 1942 to 1944, and served as a commanding officer in 1944-45. A 1942 Life Magazine article about the Burma mission stated that "Dorn, an artist, drew Stilwell's campaign maps."
Dorn eventually attained the rank of Brigadier-General and retired in 1953. He settled in Carmel, California, living what his friend John Thompson, who describes Dorn as living "a semi-bohemian life, writing, and painting. In the Sixties, he did some amazing psychedelic paintings, wondered if he was the incarnation of a Buddhist painter, and held progressive civil rights and antiwar views." In the 1970s, Dorn authored two highly-regarded scholarly books on the Chinese and Burmese theaters of World War II.
The Fort Sill Map is very rare. This is the first example we have seen on the market.