Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Zoom Into Maps
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Pictorial Maps
Language of the Land Exhibit: Booklover’s Map of the United States, 1949.
Language of the Land Exhibit: Booklover’s Map of the United States, 1949.
» A Pictorial Chart of American Literature, 1932
» Map of American Literature, 1932 (shows points of interest with backgrounds and facts that influenced American Writers)
» Being a Literary Map of the United States, 1942
» Black Writers for Young America, 1976
» Beat Generation Map of America, 1987
» Stratford on Avon, 1908 (Shakespeare)
» Literary Map of Texas, 1955
» The Alaska Line, 1934

A picture is worth a thousand words. Pictorial maps use symbols or pictures to represent a theme. Literary maps featuring images of authors, their works and associated geographical features were popular in the 20th century. Since the emphasis of these maps was to depict literary history, they are often slightly inaccurate in geographic detail. The Language of the Land: Journeys Into Literary America exhibit highlights a variety of literary maps that can be useful as students study regional literature.
Featured Map: Using this 1949 Booklover’s Map from the Language of the Land exhibit, let's explore how a pictorial map might be used in the classroom. Click on the caption under the map to link to the complete exhibit list. Click on the map itself to zoom in for details. Who are the authors pictured along the top of the map? Why do you think they were selected by the mapmaker? What three large cities have insets featuring authors? Locate authors and books representing YOUR state. Have you read any of these titles? Are they in your school or public library collection? Why do you think this map was published? What 20th century authors would your to add for YOUR state?
Learning More: Explore the map links on the left to examine more literary maps. Scroll through the Language of the Land exhibit object list to locate regional and state literary maps. Students can use the Primary Source Analysis Tool to analyze these maps. Participate in the online U.S. Literary Map Project. Search the Web using the term “literary map” for links to more examples of maps of this type. As a class project, create a literary map of YOUR city or state.