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Map of Winter Sports And This And That Etc by John Held Jr 1929

  • Author: HELD, John (artist)
  • Publisher: Sportman Magazine
  • Date: 1929
  • Dimensions: 2 sheets (each): 26 x 33 cms / map (if joined): 42 x 27 cms (approx)


Late 1920s humorous Winter Sports map of New England by American cartoonist & illustrator, John Held Jr [1889-1958]

About this piece:

Map of Winter Sports And This and That Etc  by John Held Jr One who hates Winter

Double-page map, printed on two separate sheets and in their original unjoined state. Extracted from late 1920s magazine. Photographs/text to verso of both pages. Wide margins. Slight toning to ouer margins and sheet edges. Fine condition.

One of a series of comic maps published in the pages of the Sportsman magazine in the late 1920s, this entertaining pictorial map depicts the Winter Sports traditionally enjoyed across the New England states from New York & Connecticut through Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine. Held includes humorous vignettes illustrating these different activities, including Ice Hockey, Ice Boating, Ice Skating, Curling & Bonspieling, Tobogganing, Ski Jumping, Ski Shoeing, Dog Sled Racing and, perhaps the most unusual of all, Skijoring, where skiers are pulled along by a horse!

Held’s own comments add a querky personal touch to the often slightly off-the-wall humour, with the artist concluding in the bottom right corner that “I suppose I could have put more in this Map but I’ve gotten so cold doing this much, that I have gone to Florida!”

Held was a Mormon & native of Salt Lake City. His artistic talent manifested itself from a young age and he sold his first drawing to a local newspaper at the age of just nine. He then sold his first cartoon to Life magazine at the age of 15 and from 1905, still in his teens, became a regular contributor to the Salt Lake Tribune.  He was seconded to US Naval Intelligence as an artist and cartographer for an archaeological expedition to Central America in 1918 and by the 1920’s had become an established cover artist for some of America’s leading illustrated magazines, including Life and Vanity Fair. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s he also developed a distinctive woodcut & linocut style, and many of his designs and maps appeared in the Gay Nineties column of the New Yorker, founded by one of his college class mates, Harold Wallace Ross [1892-1951], and poking gentle fun at the older pre-war generation. By the same token, his drawings and cartoons also managed to capture the energy and excitement of the younger college generation, to the extent that they have become almost synonymous with the Jazz Age, not least in their portrayals of the 1920’s flapper. 

His maps are less commonly found but appeared in a variety of formats & media, several, like this one, featuring within the pages of popular US monthly illustrated magazines in the late 1920s and early 1930s. With their slightly idiosyncratic satirical humour, they capture comedic aspects of the everyday, particularly in their depiction of popular American recreational activities & sport.

Married four times, Held died in New York in 1958 and is interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery.