Charleston SC city plan c.1950 Decorative scarce old Hotel display mapBrian DiMambro -Historical Investments
Visitors Guide Map of Charleston
(20th century promotional cartography, maps of North America & United States- South Carolina- Tourism Map- Points of Interest- Highway Map of the Vicinity Around Charleston)
Printed circa 1940-50, by the St. John Hotel on Meeting St. at Queen (no date printed within: visual evidence, paper & printing techniques used strongly suggest the estimated date provided here).
Original vintage mid-20th century color printed promotional map issued exclusively by this hotel .
The Points of Interest Key at bottom left has as #1 the address of the hotel with an arrow pointing to it.
The map was issued printed within a larger advertising brochure or pamphlet, but for decorative and historical purposes today, travel maps such as this are an utterly fascinating and largely unexplored major avenue of 20th century American cartography. They are also quite uncommon and elusive in the market place.
20th century promotional travel maps such as this were created with consumer commerce in mind, as opposed to the historical primary aim of geographical accuracy (e.g. most world & state atlases since the 1500's, Rand-McNally, Colton, Mitchell, all USCS, Geological & U.S. Gov. publications, etc). Most cartographic publishing houses were firms engaged in at least some pretext of serious scientifically correct cartographic presentation. The point of this map, however, is to entice travel to the area depicted, meaning the map was created with a purpose other than accuracy. It was meant to help a traveler once they were within the area shown, the primary object of the visit being personal pleasure or business.
The colorful printing combined with the graphics and advertising aspects make a map like this almost entirely unique to this moment in the 20th century. Today most travel advertising is found electronically, in newspapers or in magazines, and thus these types of decorative frame-able promotional paper maps are much less commonly produced. Even back then they were relatively uncommon, and today are almost entirely undocumented in a comprehensive and scholarly manner. The history of this visually rich cartographic area has yet to be properly organized; both by state, region and/ or country, but also by theme, such as airlines, West Coast travel, panoramic views, cartoon maps (see Rumsey), etc.
Making the project more challenging is how hidden most of these maps are when viewing the form in which they were released. Most of these maps are not visible on the outsides of the pamphlets they appeared within. Often they are hidden folded up inside, and there is no way to easily recognize them from the exterior. Thus, a person randomly searching through old travel brochures might well look through 100 (or many more) before encountering a map like this one. It could take months or years of searching to find an exact match for any of these specific ones like here. The key is you have to know what you looking for, and the only way to find it is locate it yourself or buy it when you see one offered...there is no single market place for them and they are mostly as yet still largely undiscovered and unappreciated by collectors and dealers alike.
I think they're wonderful to look at and are well worthy of collecting and systematic documentation. In several fine batches recently acquired directly from the estate of the collector, there are indeed numerous variant issues of what look at first glance to be the same map. Often this wealthy individual when constantly traveling and staying in nice hotels would visit the same state or city (like NYC, Washington D.C., Denver, Florida, Miami) on successive years, and thus the maps can readily be identified by different states in annual succession. This cartographic phenomenon is still largely undocumented for this area and I hope to modestly begin the process with this first level of most basic field cataloging.
A charming, scarce and genuinely appealing 20th century map well worthy of display, readily collected on it's own merits, or given as a present.
Perhaps best suited framed for display in an area where it can best be appreciated. Hotel lobbies, real estate offices, law & accounting firms, doctors offices, etc. might benefit from a touch of history such as this.
In Good+ antiquarian condition, mostly clean overall, light minor age dustiness or light surface wear,original fold-lines as issued, overall the map is clean and very attractive. There is nothing that would prevent this map from being framed as shown to pleasing visual effect. It would then become utterly unique. Not a map your friends or anyone else who looks at it will have. A very scarce and unique decorative old map for public display.
Please inspect scan closely- any noteworthy flaws to the printed surface area should be noticeable within pictures provided. This enlargeable scan forms a central part of the item description and we encourage you to study it carefully. We will send the actual antique paper item shown.
[ note: We grade very conservatively. We are doing our best to show & describe this item so you are happy when it arrives ].
A delightful and appealing old 20th century printed map that any collector, dealer, institution or person of taste would be happy to own or display.
Sheet shown in scan measures c. 12" W x 9 1/8" H.
( please note - the item is still within it's original folded format, other related printed material potentially around it and printed on the back. This is a given for this type of map as discussed above.)
Printed area measures c. 11 3/4" W x 8 7/8" H.