Maps For Global War
- Dates: April 16, 1943 through May 9, 1943
- Collections: American Art
April 19, 1943: Friday, April 16, the Brooklyn Museum opens to the public an exhibition of maps designed by the well-known American cartographer, Richard Edes Harrison, Fellow of the American Geographical Society and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Entitled “Maps for Global War”, the exhibit is hung in the Print Gallery, second floor, where it will remain on view through Sunday, May 9.
More than twenty maps are shown, the majority having been printed in Fortune magazine. In most cases the original drawing is exhibited with the printed map, and in one case there is displayed the entire series of technical steps in the production of the particular map.
Titles of the maps in the exhibition-include:
“Vulture’s View” (Ethiopia)
“Pan American Airways”
“Great Circle Airways”
“Air Empire, Air Freedom”
“Land of Moses” (Long Island parkway system)
“Strategy Map of Europe”
“The Rock” (Gibraltar)
“Air Industry” (U.S.)
“Southeast to Armageddon” (Hitler’s view of the Middle East)
“One World, One War”
The Museum feels the present very timely for such an exhibition not only because of the importance of maps in the understanding of the current war, but also because of the many fallacies concerning geography now entertained by the average person. Through Mr. Harrison’s various maps the layman is freed from the straight-jacket of the conventional flat map with its fixed viewpoint and from the limitations of the familiar Mercator projection.
The Harrison maps are in each ease drawn for a particular purpose, and each presents a specific point of view, crystallized, and that point of view only. Just as the Mercator projection has its limitations, so have the Harrison maps for, as the cartographer says, “Every map has inherent limitations in its projection, and every map has a psychological limitation which develops from the excessive use of one map to the neglect of others.”
With these limitations in mind, Mr. Harrison has designed each map for its purpose regardless of such established conventions as that the north must always be at the top. This drawing of maps from new viewpoints enables the layman to see the present world in its present proportions and not in those of past ages. Strategists and geography teachers no longer need attempt to depict global strategy on the Mercator projection, which utterly ignores the great skyway of the near future, the Arctic.
Mr. Harrison makes no claims that he has discovered new projections. Rather he says that he has “dusted off” old projections which are suited to the modern era of flight. For example, the polar equidistant projection, first drawn by Galeanus in 1510, two years before the birth of Mercator, has been used by Harrison in his “The World Divided” and “One World, One War.”
Mr. Harrison’s maping career began in 1932 when he first made maps for Time and Fortune magazines. From 1934 to 1938 he did almost all of Time’s maps until those for Fortune crowded out that work. He also made the first experimental maps for the “March of Time” newsreel.
In 1940 his “Strategy Map of Europe,” with comment and military information by Major George Fielding Eliot, was published by Reynal and Hitchcock. In the past four years Mr. Harrison has done maps for the following books: “Far Eastern Policy of the U.S.” by A. Whitney Griswold; “Britain and France Between Wars” by A. Wolfers; “A Navy Second to None” by George T. Davis; “America’s Strategy in World Politics” by Nicholas J. Spykman; “Alone” by Admiral Richard E. Byrd; “Geopolitics” by Robert Strausz; “The Queens Die Proudly” by William L. White (to be published); “Retreat to Victory” by Allan Michie (to be published); “Alaska Under Arms” by Jean Potter (to be published); and “Greenland” by Viljhalmur Stefansson (to be published).
For personal interview, phone Mr. Harrison at (office) Bryant 9-2683, or (home) Plaza 3-8123.