374 - Superior, the Heart of the Man of Commerce

man_commerce

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“The American Geographical Society Library has acquired an extremely rare and unusual map, The Man of Commerce, published in 1889 in Superior, Wisconsin. The highly detailed 31" x 50" map/chart conflates human anatomy with the American transportation system, in an apparent attempt to promote Superior as a transportation hub.”


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“Its metaphor makes West Superior ‘the center of cardiac or heart circulation’; the railways become major arteries; and New York is ‘the umbilicus through which this man of commerce was developed’. ”

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“The explanatory notes conclude: ‘It is an interesting fact that in no other portion of the known world can any such analogy be found between the natural and artificial channels of commerce and circulatory and digestive apparatus of man’. ”

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“Only one other copy of this map is known to exist. The map’s cartographer was A.F. McKay; the publisher (probably) Land & River Improvement Co.; and the printer Rand, McNally and Co.”

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Many thanks to Lloyd Daub for providing me with this link to the map, at the UWM Libraries of the University of Wisconsin, which also hosts the American Geographical Society Library.

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