Military Map of the United States, 1951

Military Map of the United States Issued by the Union Pacific Railroad Company 10/51
Chicago, Illinois, 1951
color lithograph
Unrestored original condition
double sided brochure in original good condition, professionally flattened, map in good condition with strong color, on reverse of map relaxed original fold lines are intact and define 16 panels, there is small tear at the bottom edge of each corner of the open sheet
18.5 × 31.875 inches
Sale Status: 
For Sale

This Union Pacific Military Map of the United States is unusual among typical American railroad maps and tourist brochures as it illustrates the U.S. armed services military bases and train logistics that supported domestic American military requirements during the Korean Conflict. This is a hybrid map and illustrated map. The "Explanation" on the color coded map identifies the three symbols scattered throughout the Map of the United States: red airplane identifies Airfields, Bases & Stations: red boat anchor in red circle identifies Naval Installations; red solid square identifies Barracks, Camps, Forts & Posts. States are outlined in yellow. An Explanation of the Union Pacific Railroad is a key that explains the four different symbols for track that is either single or double. There are two small inset maps: Union Pacific Railroad Connecting Lines Over Pacific Ocean and Union Pacific Railroad Connecting Lines Over Atlantic Ocean.  The principal Map of the Unites States on its face  lists U.S. Military bases in red, with red brackets containing  multiple bases on the East and West Coast. The concentration of Union Pacific routes in the West is immediately apparent due to the crisp graphic art representing these lines. National parks are identified on the map, even on the very small scale inset map of Connecting lines over the Pacific Ocean, where Yellowstone Nat. Park is the one identified U.S. National Park probably because the Union Pacific has a rail line to this National park.

The reverse of the single sheet publication displays the new Union Pacific Railroad logo, making its debut in 1950, a modernist style shield in red, white and blue, with blue on top and the American red and white stripes below, surrounded by a separate, decorative circle of sixteen white stars against medium gray covers. The Union Pacific company web site has a section on the history of the company's logos, and places itself among the American companies adopting Post-War Modernism as practiced by whom it describes as "Many of the world's talented designers [who] came to America bringing with them a sophisticated form-and-function design approach." This commentary cites CBS, IBM and Union Pacific and New Haven and Hartford Railroad as among the first to adopt modern graphic art for their respective corporate identities.

A brief history of the transcontinental railroad appears on this side of the sheet, crediting Abraham Lincoln with choosing the "middle route" across western America "the path first marked by buffalo herds" and used by the 49ers to California. This history cites May 10, 1869 as the date the Golden Spike was driven into track to join the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads. The brochure promotes the reliability and high quality of Union Pacific rail service for military and industrial logistics, and for both military personnel and civilians traveling the country for business or pleasure. The map was issued in succeeding editions through the end of the Korean Conflict in 1953.

This brochure actually provides sufficient information for military or civilian use to ship goods to military bases, providing a detailed list of domestic U.S. Military Posts with the name of the railroad terminal and the post office address.  This list occupies most of the reverse side of the map. The Union Pacific brochure has one panel that emphasizes to its customers the "Importance of Cooperation" in proper packaging, loading and unloading in order to maintain efficient operation of the railroad. Likely this was becoming a costly problem during the build up to the Korean Conflict and its actual inception with the invasion by North Korea of South Korea June 24, 1950.

Perhaps the most curious aspect of this publicly distributed brochure is its usefulness for interests hostile to those of the United States during wartime.

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