National Geographic Has Digitized Its Collection of 6,000+ Vintage Maps: See a Curated Selection of Maps Published Between 1888 and Today

As some of the finest fictional world-builders have understood, few things excite the imagination like a map. And despite the geographical limitation implied by its title, National Geographic’s maps have surveyed the entire globe and beyond. The magazine’s articles have not always presented an enlightened point of view, but for all its historical failings, the richly-illustrated monthly has excelled as a showcase for cartography, over which readers might spend hours, projecting themselves into unknown lands, journeying through the carefully-drawn topographies, cityscapes, and celestial charts.

Started as the official journal of the National Geographic Society, the magazine has amassed a huge, 130-year archive of  “editorial cartography,” the National Geographic site writes. “Now, for the first time,” that collection is available online, “every map ever published in the magazine since the first issue of October 1888.”




The entire archive is only available to subscribers (however you can find curated selections on the NatGeoMaps Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts), but we can still see an astonishing quality and variety on display in dozens of maps on social media of every conceivable location, topic, and event, beginning with the very first published map, depicting the Great White Hurricane, “one of the most severe blizzards to ever hit the United States” (above)—the “start of a long tradition… of enhancing storytelling with maps.”

As longtime readers of National Geographic well know, the maps—often separable from the magazine in fold-outs suitable for hanging on the wall—function as more than visual aids. They tell their own stories. “A map is able to connect with somebody in a different way than a text will or a photo will,” notes the magazine’s director of cartography Martin Gamache. Maps “engage with a different part of our psyche or our brain.” From its earliest articulation, geography has inclined toward the poetic. The ancient geographer Strabo credited Homer as “the founder of geographical science,” who “reached the utmost limits of the earth, traversing it in his imagination.” Maps present us with a visual poetry often Homeric in its scope.

Though so many of these maps are detachable, it often helps to understand the specific context in which they were created, which doesn’t always appear in a self-contained legend. The map above, for example, published in March 1966, shows the Kremlin “in unprecedented detail,” as the magazine’s Twitter account points out: “Soviet regulations prohibited aerial photos, so artists collected diagrams and ground-level photos to draft a sketch that was brought to Moscow and corrected on the spot.” Further up, we see a map of Mexico from May 1914, “one of the first general reference maps of the country” from the National Geographic archive. The map at the top, from the December 1922 issue, is the magazine’s very first published general reference map of the world.

There are maps celestial, as above from 1957, and architectural—such as recent digital recreations of King Tut’s tomb, lately revealed to have no hidden chambers left to explore. Maps of planets beyond the solar system and planets (or “dwarf planets”) within it, such as this first published map of Pluto. Maps of rivers like the Rhine and spectacular natural formations like the Grand Canyon. There are even maps of flowers, like that published below in May 1968, showing “the origins of 117 types of blooms.” Some maps are much less joyous, like this recent series showing what the world might look like if all of the ice melted. Some are purely for fun, like this series on the geography of Star Wars and other fictional franchises.

If we can imagine it, National Geographic suggests, we can map it, and conversely, when we see a map, our imaginations are immediately engaged. Learn more at the NatGeo blog All Over the Map, and connect with many more curated maps from this huge collection at the magazine’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.

Related Content:

A Map Showing How the Ancient Romans Envisioned the World in 40 AD

The Illustrated Medicinal Plant Map of the United States of America (1932): Download It in High Resolution

An Interactive Map Shows Just How Many Roads Actually Lead to Rome

Interactive Map Shows the Seizure of Over 1.5 Billion Acres of Native American Land Between 1776 and 1887

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Enter “The Magazine Rack,” the Internet Archive’s Collection of 34,000 Digitized Magazines

Before we kept up with culture through the internet, we kept up with culture through magazines. That historical fact may at first strike those of us over 30 as trivial and those half a generation down as irrelevant, but now, thanks to the Internet Archive, we can all easily experience the depth and breadth of the magazine era as something more than an abstraction or an increasingly distant memory. In keeping with their apparent mission to become the predominant archive of pre-internet media, they've set up the Magazine Rack, a downloadable collection of over 34,000 digitized magazines and other monthly publications.

Magazines haven't gone away, of course, and at the Internet Archive's Magazine Rack you can do just what you might have done at a traditional magazine rack: flip through brand new issues of publications like Tech Advisor, Aviation History, and America's Civil War. But quite unlike a traditional magazine rack, where recency was all, you can also read back issues — in some cases quite far-back issues, stretching all the way to the mid-18th century. The London Magazine, or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer vol. XXII for the Year 1753, the oldest magazine on these digital shelves, offers such articles as "Remarkable accidents," "Danger of the empire's being without a head," and "Life and character of Christina, queen of Sweden."

As British magazines of the past go, it also delighted me personally to find in the Magazine Rack many issues of Computer and Video Games (also known as CVG) which did much, given its inexplicable availability at the library of the Seattle suburb where I grew up, to shape my worldview. Other titles catering to "nerdy" interests, broadly speaking, have — perhaps predictably — been archived with a special extensiveness: computer and gaming magazines have their own vast sections, but the collections of early Scientific American, sci-fi fan magazine Starlog, vintage men's magazines (some, of course, NSFW), and the long-running amateur radio journal 73 Magazine come not far behind.

The Magazine Rack also contains plenty of publications of the kind we tend to reference here on Open Culture, including quite a few titles devoted to pulp fictionthe influential Moebius- and H.R. Giger-featuring "adult fantasy magazine" Heavy Metal, the Hugo Award-winning science fiction magazine IF, and the made-for-PDF-format international art magazine Revolutionart. Spend enough browsing time there and you'll remember — or learn — that, especially in the print-saturated twentieth century, magazines didn't just let us keep up with the culture, they helped create it.

Related Content:

A Digital Archive of Heavy Metal, the Influential “Adult Fantasy Magazine” That Featured the Art of Moebius, H.R. Giger & More

Read 1,000 Editions of The Village Voice: A Digital Archive of the Iconic New York City Paper

A Complete Digitization of Eros Magazine: The Controversial 1960s Magazine on the Sexual Revolution

Download the Complete Archive of Oz, “the Most Controversial Magazine of the 60s,” Featuring R. Crumb, Germaine Greer & More

Enter the Pulp Magazine Archive, Featuring Over 11,000 Digitized Issues of Classic Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Detective Fiction

Enter a Huge Archive of Amazing Stories, the World’s First Science Fiction Magazine, Launched in 1926

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Enter the Pulp Magazine Archive, Featuring Over 11,000 Digitized Issues of Classic Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Detective Fiction

Pulp Fiction will likely hold up generations from now, but the resonance of its title may already be lost to history. Pulp magazines, or “the pulps,” as they were called, once held special significance for lovers of adventure stories, detective and science fiction, and horror and fantasy. Acquiring the name from the cheap paper on which they were printed, pulp magazines might be said, in large part, to have shaped the pop culture of our contemporary world, publishing respected authors like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and many an unknown newcomer, some of whom became household names (in certain houses), like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick.

Beginning in the late 19th century, the pulps opened up the publishing space that became flooded with comic books and popular novels like those of Stephen King and Michael Crichton in the latter half of the twentieth century.




They varied widely in quality and subject matter but all share certain preoccupations. Sexual taboos are explored in their naked essence or through various genre devices. Monsters, aliens, and other features of the “weird” predominate, as do the forerunners of DC and Marvel’s superhero empires in characters like the Shadow and the Phantom Detective.

Unlike higher-rent “slicks” or “glossies,” pulp magazines had license to go places respectable publications feared to tread. Genre fiction now spawns multimillion dollar franchises, one after another, purged of much of the pulps’ salacious content. But paging through the thousands of back issues available at the Pulp Magazine Archive will give you a sense of just how outré such magazines once were—a quality that survived in the underground comics and zines of the 60s and beyond and in genre tabloids like Scream Queens

The enormous archive contains over 11,000 digitized issues of such titles as If, True Detective Mysteries, Witchcraft and Sorcery, Weird Tales, Uncensored Detective, Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang, and Adventure ("America's most exciting fiction for men!"). It also features early celebrity rags like Movie Pictorial and Hush Hush, and retrospectives like Dirty Pictures, a 1990s comic reprinting the often quite misogynist pulp art of the 30s.

There's great science fiction, no small amount of creepy teen boy wish-fulfillment, and lots of lurid, noir appeals to fantasies of sex and violence. Swords and sorcery, guns and trussed-up pin-ups, and plenty of creature features. The pulps were once mass culture’s id, we might say, and they have now become its ego.

Enter the Pulp Magazine Archive here.

Related Content:

Enter a Huge Archive of Amazing Stories, the World’s First Science Fiction Magazine, Launched in 1926

Free: 355 Issues of Galaxy, the Groundbreaking 1950s Science Fiction Magazine

Isaac Asimov Recalls the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1937-1950)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

A Digital Archive of Heavy Metal, the Influential “Adult Fantasy Magazine” That Featured the Art of Moebius, H.R. Giger & More

In making a time capsule of the late 20th century, one would be remiss if they did not include at least an issue or two of Heavy Metal magazine. Yes, it specialized in unapologetically turning women in metal bras into sex objects. The gleeful amount of T&A on its covers, surrounded by spaceships, swords, and sorcery, mark it as a relic of its era that appealed to a specific demographic. But Heavy Metal was much more than sexy sci-fi mascots drawn in lurid pulpy styles. Along with its share of erotica, the “adult illustrated fantasy magazine” provided a vivid showcase for some of the most interesting artists and storytellers working in the mainstream and in various subgenres of fantasy and sci-fi. (It continues to do so.)

Debuting in 1977, the year of the first Star Wars film, Heavy Metal was not named after the brand of guitar rock pioneered by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, though there’s an obvious influence, but after a French magazine that started two years earlier called Métal hurlant, or literally “Howling Metal.” (We've featured it here on OC before.) When publisher Leonard Mogel decided to adapt the original for an American readership, he changed the name, but kept the content, republishing work by Jean Giraud—the artist better known as Moebius—and many other accomplished European illustrators.

Founded and staffed by the creators of National Lampoon, the magazine later featured original work from artists like H.R. Giger, interviews with Dennis Hopper, John Waters, Francis Ford Coppola, John Carpenter, Roger Corman, and even Federico Fellini; and with musicians like the Eurythmics and Debbie Harry. It ran popular serialized stories, showcased graphic literary adaptations (of Paradise Lost, for example), and published authors like Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and other heavies. Rock, comics, film, and fiction all got their due in between the magazine’s extravagant pinup covers, many of which inspired the art painted on the side of many a carpeted van in the 70s.

You can see a sizable collection of scanned Heavy Metal magazines, from the first, 1977 issue to the mid-90s, at the Internet Archive. Part of Archive.org’s extensive “Magazine Rack,” a digital library of thousands of scanned periodicals, the Heavy Metal collection was launched in 2012 by archivist Jason Scott. Though it doesn’t contain the magazine’s complete run by any means, it offers a broad enough sampling of all of its major themes and tendencies.

Heavy Metal’s interests are very focused, one might say, but the few things the magazine does, and has done since 1977, it has done exceptionally well. Enter the archive here.

Related Content:

Métal hurlant: The Hugely Influential French Comic Magazine That Put Moebius on the Map & Changed Sci-Fi Forever

Discover the First Horror & Fantasy Magazine, Der Orchideengarten, and Its Bizarre Artwork (1919-1921)

Underground Cartoonist Robert Crumb Creates an Illustrated Introduction to Franz Kafka’s Life and Work

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Hunter S. Thompson’s Decadent Daily Breakfast: The “Psychic Anchor” of His Frenetic Creative Life

Image  via Wikimedia Commons

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

It certainly seems so from all the carefully staged photos of overnight oatmeal on Instagram.

The physical and mental benefits are well documented. A nutritious meal in the morning boosts blood glucose levels, improving concentration, boosting energy levels and maintaining healthy weight.

Sadly, many Americans gobble their breakfasts on the fly. How many hundreds of film and television scenes have you seen wherein the main characters hurtle through the kitchen snatching bananas, granola bars, and travel mugs on their way to the door?

The late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson would surely not have approved, though he may have enjoyed the sense of superiority these morning scrambles would have engendered.

This was a man who bragged that he could “cover a hopelessly scrambled presidential campaign better than any six-man team of career political journalists on The New York Times or The Washington Post and still eat a three-hour breakfast in the sun every morning.”

Reporting for Rolling Stone in “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 76,” he intimated that he viewed breakfast with the “traditionalized reverence that most people associate with Lunch and Dinner.”

One wonders who exactly he meant by “most people”?

Texans? The Irish? Rabelais?

Regardless of whether he had been to bed, or what he had gotten up to the night before, he insisted upon a massive repast—consumed al fresco, and preferably in the nude. The sun he enjoyed basking in was usually at its zenith by the time he sat down. The meal, which he called the "psychic anchor" of "a terminally jangled lifestyle, consisted of the following:

Four bloody Marys

Two grapefruits

A pot of coffee

Rangoon crêpes

A half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef-hash with diced chilies

A Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict

A quart of milk

A chopped lemon for random seasoning

Something like a slice of Key lime pie

Two margaritas

And six lines of the best cocaine for dessert

Last summer, a Danish Vice reporter recreated Thompson’s breakfast of choice, inviting a poet friend (and “aspiring alcoholic") to partake along with him. It ended with him vomiting, naked, into a shrub. His guest, who seems to be made of sturdier stuff, praised the eggs benedict, the Bloody Marys, and dessert.

Thompson preferred that his first meal of the day be consumed solo, in order to get a jump on the day’s work. In addition to the edible menu items, he required:

Two or three newspapers

All mail and messages

A telephone

A notebook for planning the next twenty four hours

And at least one source of good music

Read "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1976" here. The key breakfast quote reads as follows:

I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon; anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every twenty four hours, and mine is breakfast. In Hong Kong, Dallas, or at home—and regardless of whether or not I have been to bed—breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess. The food factor should always be massive: Four bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crêpes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef-hash with diced chilies, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of Key lime pie, two margaritas, and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert... Right, and there should also be two or three newspapers, all mail and messages, a telephone, a notebook for planning the next twenty four hours, and at least one source of good music... All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of the hot sun, and preferably stone naked.

And just in case, here is a recipe for Crab Rangoon Crepes…

Related Content:

How Hunter S. Thompson Gave Birth to Gonzo Journalism: Short Film Revisits Thompson’s Seminal 1970 Piece on the Kentucky Derby

Hear the 10 Best Albums of the 1960s as Selected by Hunter S. Thompson

Read 11 Free Articles by Hunter S. Thompson That Span His Gonzo Journalist Career (1965-2005)

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

The Not Yorker: A Collection of Rejected & Late Cover Submissions to The New Yorker

What's happened to the thousands of cover designs that have been submitted to The New Yorker? And then been rejected, either summarily or with much consideration? Probably most have faded into oblivion. But at least some are now seeing the light of day over at The Not Yorker, a web site that collects "declined or late cover submissions" to the storied magazine. See a gallery of declined illustrations here.

The creators of the new site encourage illustrators to submit their rejected covers here. And lest there be any doubt, The Not Yorker is not officially affiliated with The New Yorker.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.

via Kottke

Related Content

The Tokyoiter: Artists Pay Tribute to the Japanese Capital with New Yorker-Style Magazine Covers

Download a Complete, Cover-to-Cover Parody of The New Yorker: 80 Pages of Fine Satire

The New Yorker’s “Comma Queen” Mercifully Explains the Difference Between Who/Whom, Lay/Lie, Less/Fewer & Beyond

The New Yorker’s Fiction Podcast: Where Great Writers Read Stories by Great Writers

The Tree of Modern Art: Elegant Drawing Visualizes the Development of Modern Art from Delacroix to Dalí (1940)

Selecting certain features, simplifying them, exaggerating them, and using them to provide a deep insight, at a glance, into the subject as a whole: such is the art of the caricaturist, one that Miguel Covarrubias elevated to another level in the early- to mid-20th century. Those skills, combined with his knowledge as an art historian, also served him well when he drew "The Tree of Modern Art." This aesthetically pleasing diagram first appeared in Vanity Fair in May of 1933, a time when many readers of such magazines would have felt a great curiosity about how, exactly, all these new paintings and sculptures and such — many of which didn't seem to look much like the paintings and sculptures they knew at all — related to one another.

"Because it stops in 1940, the tree fails to account for abstract expressionism and other post–World War II movements," writes Vox's Phil Edwards, in a piece that includes a version of the Covarrubias' 1940 "Tree of Modern Art" revision with clickable examples of relevant artwork.




But "the organizational structure alone reveals a surprisingly large amount about the way art has evolved," including how it "becomes broader and more inclusive over time," eventually turning into a "global affair"; how "artistic schools have become more aesthetically diverse"; how "the canon evolved quickly"; and how "all art is intertwined," created as it has so long been by artists who "work together, borrow from each other, and grow in tandem."

You can also find the "Tree of Modern Art" at the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, a holding that illustrates, as it were, just how wide a swath of information design the term "map" can encompass. "The date is estimated based on the verso of the paper being a blue lined base map of the National Park Service dated 12/28/39," says the collection's site. "This drawing was found in the papers of B. Ashburton Tripp" — also a mapmaker in the collection — "and we assume that Covarrubias and Tripp were friends (verified by Tripp's descendants) and that the blue line base map was something Tripp was working on in his landscape architecture business."

The legend describes the tree as having been "planted 60 years ago," a number that has now passed 130. Many more leaves have grown off those branches of impressionism, expressionism, post-impressionism, surrealism, cubism, and futurism in the years since Covarrubias drew the tree, but for someone to go back and augment such a fully-realized creation wouldn't do at all — as with any work of art, modern or otherwise.

Related Content:

Download 67,000 Historic Maps (in High Resolution) from the Wonderful David Rumsey Map Collection

The History of Modern Art Visualized in a Massive 130-Foot Timeline

Take a Trip Through the History of Modern Art with the Oscar-Winning Animation Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase

Every Exhibition Held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Presented in a New Web Site: 1929 to Present

The Guggenheim Puts Online 1600 Great Works of Modern Art from 575 Artists

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

More in this category... »
Quantcast