Your average atlas won’t contain any of the cartographic curiosities collected by Frank Jacobs on his blog Strange Maps.
Spanning centuries, continents, and the imagination, Jacobs combines rare and off-beat maps with quirky statistics and smart social commentary. Did you know some seventeenth century mapmakers believed California was an island. Thomas Jefferson proposed dividing the Northwest Territory into ten states with names like Polypotamia and Assenisipia? Or that alternative historians imagined how Europe might have looked if Germany had won World War I.
Of course, my favorites are the maps of literary places and events. If you ever wondered about the layout of Maycomb, the fictional Alabama city that was the setting ofTo Kill a Mockingbird, there’s a map of it. Would you like to know the exact route Captain Ahab steered the Pequod in search of Moby Dick? There’s a map of that. Maybe you’d like to compare Jack Keruac’s cross country journey in On the Road with John Steinbeck’s similar trip in Travels with Charley. There’s a map for that, too.
A few years ago, Jacobs collected some of his blog’s most interesting maps into a book of the same name. Place a hold on Strange Maps now.