Pictorial maps enjoyed great popularity from the 1930s to the 1950s, and partnered beautifully with tourism and the travel industry. This gem was designed by Harry A. Chandler, a popular creator of bird’s eye views and pictorial maps whose ads could be found in NYC papers during the early part of the 20th century. This map appeared in an early brochure published by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce.
The Montauk Chamber was born in June 1930. From the July 11, 1930 issue of the East Hampton Star we know that a large dinner dance with 100 East End attendees celebrated the founding of this organization. The front-page headline proclaimed: “Montauk Chamber of Commerce holds banquet at Montauk Manor. Perry Duryea, Toastmaster, President of Newly Organized Chamber, says Purpose is to Tell the World about the Charms of Montauk. Will Boost and Back Betterment Movements.”
Duryea stated the aims of the Chamber as “working for the civic betterment of Montauk and to call attention to the attractions of Montauk as a summer resort through all mediums of advertising.” In his recently published book on pictorial maps, Picturing America, The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps, author Stephen J. Hornsby explains that this particular type of mapmaking owes at least some of its success to the principles of advertising.
“American pictorial maps captured the innermost character of a country by highlighting history, landscape, architecture, and human attributes such as attachment, nostalgia, and memory. Pictorial maps … enthusiastically sold places, states, regions, industries, transportation, products, and services of all kinds. The finest pictorial maps spun together maps, pictures, and text to create a visual story or representation that instantly summarized a sense of place, delighting the eye and stimulating the viewer’s imagination. Although ignored in most histories of cartography, pictorial maps were arguably the most creative and dynamic part of American cartography in the middle decades of the twentieth century.”
In 2020 we celebrate 90 years of existence for the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, but the official incorporation of the Montauk Chamber took place 67 years ago this week: on November 6, 1953. Happy Birthday, Montauk Chamber of Commerce!