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Fantastic 1940 Pictorial Map of the United States Urging National Unity and Warning Against the Dangers of Fascism. An Example of Which Was Once Owned and Annotated by Langston Hughes.

Large, attractive pictorial map of the United States by illustrator Emma Bourne, produced in the lead-up to the American entry into World War II by the New York City-based Council Against Intolerance in America.

The map depicts the great ethnic and religious diversity of the United States. It is filled with illustrations of people at work, harvesting, manufacturing, and building. Across each American region, a ribbon is unwound, and on it written the countries from which the local population came. Next to each of the nationalities is a symbol for their respective religions (Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, etc.) In the lower left is a breakdown of the populations of these religious groups.

The map also includes a list of famous Americans in the fields of Literature, Science, Industry, and The Arts, and the ethnicity of the famous people listed.

A large illustration of the head of a Native American off the coast of Florida bears the caption, “With the exception of the Indian all Americans or their forefathers came here from other countries. This map shows where they live, what they do, and what their religion is."

Yale University owns an example of the map from Langston Hughes' papers, in which he has annotated it with commentary.

The Council Against Intolerance in America

In their write up of the map, Slate Magazine notes of the Council:

The Council Against Intolerance, a New York group active from the late 1930s through the mid-1940s, was founded by left-leaning Jewish author James Waterman Wise. Wise is notable for having warned of the dangers of Nazism in several books as early as 1933.

The Council’s educational department printed teachers’ manuals and books to be used in adult reading groups. The group’s rhetoric was pro-American, arguing in its materials that prejudice would undermine national unity in a time of war.


A wonderful pictorial map reflective of the American spirit and the political issues 

The map is quite popular online, having been written up on Slate (as linked above), Atlas Obscura, and Aleteia, among other places.

Condition Description
Small loss from the upper left corner, barely affecting the image. A few small edge tears imperfectly repaired with yellowed scotch tape. Right corner torn but present. Some underlining of the famous names in the section at lower left. In better condition a map that retails for well over $1,000.
Hornsby, Stephen J. Picturing America: the Golden Age of Pictorial Maps, p. 78 and Plate 19. Rumsey 8212.