The American Folklore Map

Artist William Gropper created a U.S. map and placed characters from folklore into the appropriate areas. The U.S. Department of State gave these maps out abroad beginning in 1946.

The “folklore” on display in this richly illustrated map is a soup of history, music, myth, and literature. Frankie and Johnny are cheek-by-jowl with a wild-eyed John Brown; General Custer coexists with “Git Along Little Dogies.” Utah is simply host to a group of “Mormons,” in which a bearded man holds up stigmata-marked hands to a small group of wives and children, while a figure labeled “New England Witches” flies over New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

The map actually got Gropper in hot water with Joe McCarthy and he was called to testify about his political associations in 1953, but pled the Fifth. Read more about him, and see an enlargeable version of the map at Slate. Link -via mental_floss

Newest 2
Newest 2 Comments

I don't see any obvious reference to La Llorona, the 'weeping woman' legend of the Southwest. According to legend, she searches for the children she drowned, and steals children near water. Oddly enough, Las Cruces, NM has a park named after her which is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande. A most inauspicious place for children to play.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"The American Folklore Map"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More