Harvard College Library

Ernest Dudley Chase’s Pictorial Maps on Display

The rose compass on Chase's Map of the New England States demonstrates his decorative and detailed style.

March 27, 2003 -- Ernest Dudley Chase enjoyed making pictorial maps; it was a hobby that spanned over three decades, became a small business, and produced over 50 unique, art-like-maps, now on display at the Harvard Map Collection. The new exhibit, Greetings from Winchester: The Pictorial Maps of Ernest Dudley Chase, explores the creative, humorous, and intensely detailed works that Chase created in the last three decades of his life. Chases’ maps, many of which are on public display for the first time, range from his allegorical rendition of "Loveland" to his whimsical "United States as Viewed by California," to his battle maps of World War II.

A long-time resident of Winchester, Massachusetts, Chase (1878-1966) worked as a graphic artist and executive in the greeting card industry. A man of abundant energy, he traveled extensively and recorded his experiences in thousands of detailed drawings, which he later used as models for the intricate renderings of monuments, industries, people, and landscapes that cover every inch of his maps.

The exhibit features a wide range of thematic maps: a history of aviation, a survey of world wonders, even a guide to stamps that illustrates the history of exploration and navigation. Although they cover many topics, they all display Chase’s characteristic style, including elaborate rose compasses, a decorative boarder, and countless engaging drawings.

Although focusing primarily on Chase’s cartographic publications, the exhibit also features graphite and ink drawings, his annual Winchester calendars, travel journals, greeting cards, and marketing material. Items from the Winchester Historical Society, the Winchester Town Archives, and the private collection of Fred Holland, Chase’s stepson are included in the exhibit.

The exhibit is open through April 30, at the Harvard Map Collection, Pusey Library. Exhibit hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am - 4:45 pm.

This story appears courtesy of the Harvard College Library Communications Office
Copyright © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College