The story behind this American artifact is as colorful as the illustrations.
This pictorial map began as a quintessential representation of American folklore and culture, it later became embroiled in the anti-communist campaign fueled by Joseph McCarthy.
William Gropper, who made propaganda posters and paintings for the U.S. Treasury Department and the Office of War Information during World War II in 1945, created this colorful, pictorial map. The map depicts 61 U.S. literary heroes and legends, including Daniel Boone, Johnny Appleseed, and Rib Van Winkle, Calamity Jane. The map was quite popular and was used, domestically to teach American literature and culture. In 1946, the State Department’s Overseas Library Program purchased around 1,700 copies of the map to distribute abroad in an attempt to promote the perception of the United States as a welcoming and free land.
In 1953, during the "red scare" post-World War II, Gropper was subpoenaed to appear before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations regarding his alleged communist ties. He invoked the Fifth Amendment and was deemed un-American. The State Department destroyed their remaining copies of the folklore map, making surviving copies very rare. The map itself remains a fascinating artifact of American folklore and literary culture, and its popularity
Material: Paper on pressboard, with wood frame