The Sommer Ilands : A Map of the Bermuda Islands : Ya des Demonios : Isles of the Devils. Elizabeth Shurtleff, Elizabeth L. McMillin, Helen McMillin.
The Sommer Ilands : A Map of the Bermuda Islands : Ya des Demonios : Isles of the Devils.

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The Sommer Ilands : A Map of the Bermuda Islands : Ya des Demonios : Isles of the Devils.

Boston: The Graphic History Association; The Tudor Press, Inc., 1930. Pictorial map printed in full color, 24” x 34”, plus margins. CONDITION: Very good, toning along margins, light chipping along top margin; color still strong, unlike many examples we have seen.

A graphically appealing and richly detailed pictorial map of Bermuda created by three women based in Boston.

Promoting tourism and highlighting Bermuda history and recreation, this colorful map shows the entirety of the island and the surrounding ocean waters and adjacent islands, its border replete with sea creatures. Numerous whimsical illustrations populate the island and the surrounding ocean, providing an entertaining representation of Bermuda’s culture, landmarks, and history from the 16th century to the time of publication. The historical events depicted include British surveyor Richard Norwood in 1618 leaning over a map and dividing the island into eight tribes; King James I in 1615 unveiling the charter for the Somers Isles Company; The Prince of Wales on a vessel during his 1920 visit to the island, and so forth. Multiple people of color as seen on this map. The first African slaves arrived in Bermuda in 1616, and during King Philip's War a number of captured Native Americans—as seen on one ship dated 1750—were sent to the island as slaves as well. Also pictured on the island are tourists engaged in a range of activities, as well as beaches, golf courses, palm trees, tennis courts, a zeppelin, shooting ranges, ships, airplanes, historic forts, and more.

Text on the verso details the island’s landmarks and historical events, organized by parish and individual island, and features a quote by Mark Twain extolling Bermuda. Listed are hotels, works on Bermuda history, and the island’s appearances in literature, including Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Twain’s Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion. These and other works listed may have been available at the Bermuda Bookstores in Hamilton, which is identified as the distributor of the map and may have commissioned it. A review by the New York Times Art Department described the map as “one of the most attractive pieces of cartography produced in our day.”

In the early twentieth century a number of women with artistic training created pictorial maps, many of which focused on history, travel, and tourism. Born in Concord, New Hampshire, Elizabeth Shurtleff (1890–1968) graduated from the Boston Museum School of Art. Helen McMillin (1896–1987) of North Adams, Mass., graduated from Wellesley College, and for a period served as an editor of the New Hampshire magazine Granite Monthly. Helen’s niece Elizabeth McMillin, the designer of the map’s border, was also a Wellesley alum. Shurtleff and Helen McMillin established the Graphic History Association in Boston, expressly devoted to publishing historical maps. From 1926 to 1930, they published a series of pictorial maps, McMillin contributing research and writing, and Shurtleff providing design and drawing. The Association published maps of New England states, the Isles of Shoals, and the heavens, as well as Highways and Byways of Girl Scouting and the present map.

Founded by Ralph H. Wilbur, The Tudor Press was based in Boston and specialized in lithography, letterpress, and offset printing, operating from 1910 to 1967. In the 1920s, Wilbur’s three sons joined the firm and in 1940 the company introduced the first four-color offset press into the Boston area. During WWII the firm printed maps in connection with America’s involvement in the war. Harland Wilbur became president of the firm in 1941, and following the war the company printed military currency for America’s Occupation forces. In 1967, Tudor Press moved to its current location, Lawrence, Mass., and was renamed Graphic Litho. Harland’s son Ralph E. Wilbur took over Graphic Litho around 1968, which continues to remain in business.

A delightful map of Bermuda by three talented women and one of the more striking contributions to the genre of the pictorial map in the first half of the twentieth century.

REFERENCES: Hornsby, Stephen J. Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), p. 22; The North Adams Transcript, Jan. 16, 1930, p. 9; Lawrence, Mass. large format printer Graphic Litho at graphiclitho.com; The New York Times (NY: 12 Jan. 1930).

Item #7247

Price: $1,250.00

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