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Humbead’s Revised Map of the World with List of Population 1969 & 1970 (2)

  • Author: CRABB, Earl (designer) & SHRUBB, Rick (artist)
  • Publisher: Humbead Enterprises, Berkeley, CA
  • Date: 1969 & 1970
  • Dimensions: 1: 43 x 56 cms / 2: 42 x 55 cms


Remarkable pair of counter-cultural hippie maps of the World by Earl Crabb & Rick Shubb published in Berkeley, CA, 1969 & 1970

About this piece:

1. Humbead’s Revised Map of the World with List of Population ©1969 The Great Humbead

2. Humbead’s Revised Map of the World with List of Population ©1970 The Great Humbead

Pair of colour printed maps. Pristine flat original condition, never rolled.

Remarkable matching pair of counter-cultural hippie maps of the World conceived by Earl Crabb [1941-2015] & designed by fellow artist and musician, Rick Shubb, erstwhile residents of Berkeley, California during the late 1960s. The maps were published 1969 & 1970 respectively.

As the Berkeley Barb noted at the time of the first map’s publication:

“Certainly the most astonishing document to come from the underground presses is Humbead’s Revised Map of the World With List of Population. It provides the independent verification of the fallacy of space, and that pernicious reasoning that makes New York and Berkeley seem far apart on normal maps. Everyone knows that what’s important is people, not distances, and now for the first time we have a map recognizing this.”

It is perhaps best left to Rick Shubb himself to provide his own very personal recollections about the original conceptualisation & creation of the Humbead maps in Berkeley in the late 1960s. You can read them in a special article on Rick’s own website. It can be read in full here. Extracts follow.

Earl Crabb (aka The Great Humbead) was a remarkable 1960s entrepreneur – photographer, events organiser, folk music sound man, band manager & producer and general jack of all trades – and had created his first company, Humbead Enterprises, in Berkeley the previous year. It became the vehicle through which his several pyschedelic hippie posters were published & marketed. These included the two Humbead World maps designed by Rick Shubb as well as El Hashish and Enantodreamia. The Company also acted as distributor for the fine printed books of fellow Berkeley resident & contemporary, artist & calligrapher, David Lance Goines (b.1945).

The map began as a quick doodle by Crabb in the Berkeley Campus Music Shop and Shubb quickly developed and expanded the idea, recognising its great potential. As he recollects:

He (Earl) had drawn a random shape that was supposed to be a land mass, which he labelled “the world,” and within it he placed these “countries:” Berkeley, Los Angeles, New York, and Cambridge. His little map had a stunning truth about it. You did tend to see the same people in Berkeley that you’d see in Cambridge, at least within the folk music scene. And there was a similarly common population pool shared by NY and LA, and he’d arranged them so as to support this. Socially, if not geographically, it felt just as valid as a “real” map. He had drawn it so quickly, and presented it so confidently, that it was clearly a theory he had already postulated.I was infatuated with his concept, and….Earl and I continued to discuss, develop, and redraw his little map. I suggested the addition of San Francisco, and also lobbied for Nashville. We threw in Southeast Asia. Since the Viet Nam war could not be ignored, it had to be included in our world. We created a tiny island offshore called “rest of the world island.” It went on. Within the cities, or countries as we called them, we added the important clubs and music shops. The entire perimeter of the land mass was called the Mexican border.At some point I said “You know what? This would make a great poster,” and told him that I had skill and some experience as a graphic artist. “Hmmm,” he said. For several seconds we just looked at each other silently. We both knew this was not going to stop here. He offered to front the cost of the printing, and to market the poster, if I would do the artwork.

Rick Shubb Humbead, pp.1-2

A particularly distinctive feature of both maps was the Population list of over 1000 contemporary names added around the border of the first and in two scrolls on the second, the background to which Shubb further elaborates in the same article:

While brainstorming over what else should be added to our world, we looked at the fact that our map was a social report, not a geographical one, about where people went and the paths they took to get there. We had the places, so what about the people? We decided to add peoples’ names to our map. We set out to identify and include the population of this world. We joked about it as a sales gimmick. If you walked into a book store, and saw a poster for sale that had YOUR name on it, could you resist buying it? But it would become more than that. We began making a list of names of people to be included. Some were friends and acquaintances, others were famous people. It was not everyone we could think of, but it was not limited to people we liked. Pretty soon something started to become clear: we both understood which names belonged in this population, and which did not, and yet neither of us could have explained why. We never disagreed about a name. Some people were just map people, and others were not….By the time I was actually putting ink onto illustration board, the list had 1,056 names. I packed the names together around the outside of the poster, flowing organically around each other, forming a wide oval border for the map. Adding the names was tedious, as each had to be carefully hand lettered and made to fit together with few gaps. There was no discernible order — alphabetical would have ruined it, and was impossible anyway — but as I went along I tried to create a sort of controlled randomness to their placement. Whenever two or more names were associated with each other, such as music partners, they would not appear together. Instead I tried to make unlikely combinations and clusters.

Rick Shubb Humbead, pp.2-3

As Shubb continues:

The poster sold pretty well, selling through two printings and into a third. Before the second printing I cleaned up the art a little, correcting an unintended gap between dot screens, making some of the colors more vivid, and adding a few more names. For the third printing I did entirely new art from scratch. On this version the list of names (still more added) appears in two scrolls within the artwork. The art and colors are far superior on the third printing, but collectors being how they are, the first is the one they want, even though the third is the best looking.

Rick Shubb Humbead, p.3

These two examples would appear to be the second and third printings of the map, as detailed above. Crabb & Shubb’s Humbead maps became an integral & immensely popular part of the West Coast folk-rock culture & counter-cultural graphic art of the late 60s and early 70s.

Earl Crabb went on to carve out a highly successful career as a pioneer in computer programming, designing specialist online banking, security & investment software for many leading US & international financial institutions & corporations.  In 1987, he joined “The WELL,” the world’s most influential virtual community. As one of its most active and ubiquitous members, he helped to organize a members-investor buyout in 2012, thereafter becoming its President & CEO from 2012 until the time of his death in San Francisco in Feb 2015. He was a creative, generous, much-loved and greatly admired entrepreneur.

Rick Shubb was born in Oakland California in 1945. From an early age he became a devotee of the banjo and bluegrass music, then still something of a novelty on the American West coast. He graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1962, and during the folk boom of the 1960s performed in the coffeehouses and bars of Berkeley and San Francisco. In the 70s and 80s his music became increasingly influenced by swing and he became a popular & much-respected teacher of the five-stringed banjo. He is probably now best known for the Shubb Capo, a banjo & guitar accessory used to raise the pitch of the instrument, which he designed & patented in the early 1970s. His work as a graphic artist not only included the two Humbead maps. In the previous year [1968] he had designed a series of four equally psychedelic posters for bands performing at the renowned Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco. The last of these featuring Jimi Hendrix, BB King & The Move, who were to perform at the end of June 1968, was never actually printed as the Ballroom went bankrupt a week before the show, which was then, of course, cancelled. Further details about these four posters can be found on Shubb’s website.


Earl Crabb Obituary, San Francisco Berkeley Daily Planet 2015

Rick’s Cafe (Rick Shubb): Recollections on the Humbead Map

Rick Shubb’s Website

David Rumsey Collection