Warner's Safe Cure Prize Map c. 1887

Warner's Safe Cure Prize Map of the United States and Canada (nd) c. 1887
Chicago, 1887
color lithograph
Professionally conserved
bright original color on cream white paper that has been professionally washed, flattened and mounted on Japanese mulberry tissue.
54.5 × 39.5 inches
Sale Status: 
For Sale

            Warner's Safe Cure Prize Map of the United States and Canada is at once a feat of detailed 19th century cartography that in Rand McNally's own words shows a "clearness of outline and beauty of execution" and notably one of the first 19th century maps to show an image of The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. Given by France to the United States in 1886, the Statue of Liberty (as it came to be known) was installed on Bedloe's Island in Upper New York Bay and publicly dedicated October 28, 1886 to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the United States. Anyone taking up the offer in Warner's 1887 Safe Cure advertising brochure for a free Warner's Safe Cure Prize Map, whether residing in one of the newly settled Territories far from the East Coast or in one of America's coast to coast cities would have been delighted to own a map bearing the then novel image of the Statue of Liberty.  As a practical benefit to the holder, this map represents in exceptional detail American cities, towns, train depot and post office locations, settler outposts in the Territories and travel connections and therefore most likely the map holder's own home town.

             In one fell swoop, the master of marketing H.H. Warner grasped the power of The Statue of Liberty as an international icon of American political identity and married it to the spirit of 19th century commercial ambition.  Metaphorically, H.H. Warner's ambition to blanket all of North America with his safe cure products could not be more eloquently expressed than by this detailed Rand McNally & Co. Safe Cure Prize Map, illustrating the 19th century's commercial distribution channels via canal and railroad to America's far flung and growing population. This map is accompanied by Warner's Safe Cure Book for 1887/88, on the front cover of which the Safe Cure Prize Map is advertised as "Given Away", and within the book covers are instructions for writing away for one's own copy of the map.

            Warner's definitive 1887 advertisement map of the United States and Canada was published by Rand McNally & Co., who by that date had become a 19th century standard bearer among map publishers of railroad guides, state maps and atlases. In fact, in their booklet called "Map Drawing and Designing Room" of 1879, the publisher explains that its large (58" x 100") railroad and county map of the United States " is only the second original projection of a United States map ever made." It would make sense that the Warner's Safe Cure edition of Rand McNally's map, half the size yet still a large map, was based on this 1879 Rand McNally projection. The Dakotas are still one Territory.  Native American land not yet seized by the American government is shown as one Indian Territory but has elsewhere otherwise vanished from recognition as Native American land.  Cattle herding land in Comanche County, Kansas is shown as Jones' Ranch, formerly shown in the 1885 Rand McNally Latest Corrected Map of the State of Kansas (see in Inventory), as the town of Protection. Not only does this map illustrate how trains fueled the westward migration of American settlers and industry, but it also illustrates that the center of gravity of map publishing itself had by 1887 shifted westward from Philadelphia, Boston and New York to Chicago, the hub for transcontinental railroads. See Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, quoting Dale Morgan, Rand McNally's Pioneer Atlas of the American West, 7.

            My research has found two editions of this map. One as pictured above with the Statue of Liberty image alone and the other bearing the image of the Statue of Liberty with an accompanying paragraph.

            The map is scarce. One example exists in the Collection of the New York Public Library.

Item Type Taxonomy: 
Geographic Scope: 
The Back Room