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The Sportsman’s Map of Florida By John Held Jr 1929

  • Author: HELD, John (artist)
  • Publisher: Sportman Magazine
  • Date: 1929
  • Dimensions: sheet: 25 x 33 cms / map: 21 x 28 cms


Comic pictorial “Sportsman’s Map of Florida” by renowned American cartoonist, John Held Jr [1889-1958]

About this piece:

The Sportsman’s Map of Florida by John Held Jr Cartographer Deluxe…..

Single page map, printed in black and white. Extracted from late 1920s magazine. Double-page spread, with photograph and text to verso and further text and photos on attached page. Wide margins. Slight toning to ouer margins and sheet edges. Fine condition.

Amusing pictorial satirical map of  Florida by the renowned American illustrator & comic cartoonist, John R Held or John Held Jr [1889-1958]. This one from a series of comic maps published in the pages of the Sportsman magazine in the late 1920s.

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 and querky satirical humour, they capture comedic aspects of the everyday, particularly in their depiction of popular American recreational activities & sport.

Unsurprisingly, on this Sporting Map of Florida, Golf, Sea Fishing and Yachting feature prominently, given Florida’s reputation as a Sporting and recreational paradise, especially amongst the retired and elederly. There are entertaining references to more sedate & unusual sporting activities such as “Pitching ye Horseshoe” and “Playing ye Checkers” and a particularly topical political reference to “The Last Democrat hiding in the Everglades”. This is probably an allusion to the recent 1928 Presidential election of Republican, Herbert Hoover, whose landslide election victory had brought significant gains in several of the previously Democratic Southern States, including Florida, whose 6 Electoral College votes had been gained by the Republicans. Other off-shore annotations highlight the restrictions of this Prohibition Era, the theme of another of Held’s maps from this period. An assorted array of Rum Runners and smugglers are shown heading for the shores of Florida bearing illicit cargoes of wine, liquor, ale & cigars, whilst others flee by air & boat to the unrestricted & Prohibition-free attractions of nearby Cuba & Havana.

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