Catalog Archive
Auction 191, Lot 158

Matching Pair Featuring the Extremely Rare "Ration Map"

"[Lot of 2] Bill Whiffletree's Ration Map of U.S. [and] Bill Whiffletree's Bootleggers' Map of the United States",

Subject: United States, World War II

Period: 1944 (circa)


Color: Printed Color

30.1 x 20.2 inches
76.5 x 51.3 cm
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This wonderful, whimsical, and very rare pair of maps was created by Edward McCandlish and issued by the Hagstrom Company in New York in 1944. Although the Bootlegger map was first published 18 years prior and Prohibition had ended 11 years prior, Hagstrom saw value in pairing the well-known Bootlegger map with McCandlish's newest creation, the Ration Map of the United States.

The Ration Map is a satirical view of the strict consumption laws put in place by the United States government in 1942 in order to provide a supply line for U.S. troops and Allied forces in Europe and Asia. As part of the program, coupon books were established for many goods including sugar, meat, cheese, fish and milk. Purchases for these goods could only be made with a corresponding coupon. For some, rationing was a patriotic duty, while others were frustrated by the process as evidenced by this map. A sample of some of the humorous notes include: "Pappy Don't Even Know What He's A-Layin' Fer - A German, A Revenooer, Er A Japanee"; "On Exhibition Today Only The Last Idaho Potato"; and "How About a Light, Pal? Matches is Rationed Over Here." Text below the map adds more color to the situation: "Some people seem to lose their heads completely when they get on the subject of this 'rationing' business. But I always tell them - I say 'keep cool' - 'keep calm' - and 'keep your shirts on' - there's a war on just now..."

The accompanying Bootlegger's Map is equally amusing and filled with illustrations and puns, as nothing is sacred in this hilarious look at alcohol and prohibition. Many place names are plays on words, like Chi-keg-o, Albu-Corky, Fill-More, Booze (Boise), and many more (some so bad they hurt) - The pints of the compass are Norse, Wets, Yeast, and Souse.

These two wonderful pieces of Americana beautifully capture the humor and mood of the country during periods of restrictive government policies. OCLC locates only 2 examples held in institutions, and there are no dealer/auction listings in the last 30 years.

References: Hornsby (Picturing America) pp. 59 & 72; Rumsey ##12115 & #13136.

Condition: A

The maps have vivid color on bright, clean sheets. Both maps have an edge tear in the right blank margin that just enters the border of only the Bootlegger map, and both have been repaired on verso with archival tape. A few other minor imperfections are confined to the blank margins, away from the map images.

Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000

Sold for: $2,000

Closed on 2/8/2023