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Description

Rare vintage pictorial map of Oberlin College and the town of Oberlin, Ohio. The map was made by Walter Knapp in 1929, during the Golden Age of Pictorial Mapmaking, and it relies on many of the themes embodied in that movement.

The map includes uncolored insets of the old town ("Ye Olde Towne") and the present campus ("Ye Present Campus"). The map relies on the affected olde-timey spelling that dominated this kind of pictorial mapmaking in the 1920s and '30s. It also includes several illustrations of dinosaurs and more traditional visual devices borrowed from Renaissance maps (such as sea monsters, square-rigged ships, and a decorative compass rose).

The map includes illustrations of a variety of campus activities and humorous caricatures. The border is made of up of sometimes irreverent vignettes showing scenes from Oberlin's history, such as a fistfight related to "Anti-Tobacconists", and a black man being chased by a slave catcher (titled "Darkness comes apace"). There is an illustration of the "First Meeting of Anti-Saloon League", an allusion to Prohibition which was still the law in 1929.

There are seven portraits at the bottom of the map including that of Ernest Wilkins, then the President of Oberlin.

Oberlin has long been one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the Midwest, and its conservatory of music is world-renowned. Interestingly, Oberlin is the second oldest continuously operating coeducational institute of higher learning in the world.