Home » Product » Mem-O-Map of Europe

Mem-O-Map of Europe

  • Author: DRURY, John G
  • Publisher: Mem-O-Map Co, USA
  • Date: 1946
  • Dimensions: Sheet: 26.5 x 35 cms


US Army veteran John G Drury’s pictorial “Mem-O-Map of Europe” [1946], a wartime memento for recently demobbed servicemen

About this piece:

Mem-O-Map of Europe

Printed colour on thick card-like paper. Some light marginal edge creases most noticeably to left side in blank margin only; overall an attractive & well-preserved example.

John G Drury’s attractive pictorial map of Europe, designed to provide a potentially personalized record of the service activities of returning US veterans who had seen active service in Europe during the final stages of World War II.

John Gottlieb Drury [1907-1988] had conceived of the Mem-O-Map designs as a result of his own two year wartime service as a 4th Grade Technician with the 214th Ordnance Battalion in the Pacific Theatre, where he had been posted to the island of Okinawa during the final months of the war, following its capture by Allied forces at the end of June 1945. It was as a result of map sketches produced both on Okinawa & later on the troopship home for many of his GI buddies that he first conceived the idea of this niche post-war map publishing business & which he initially ran from his home of North Hollywood, California in the immediate post-war years.

The series of Mem-O-Maps that Drury designed in late 1945 and copyrighted in early 1946 comprised individual maps of Okinawa; Korea & Japan; The Philippine Islands; Oahu (Hawaii); and this further map of the European Continent. All were printed in deliberately bright and colourful primary colours and were each embellished with amusing historical, artistic, cultural & gastronomic vignettes that did much to belie the terrible destructive impact of the war upon the regions shown, notably here the British Isles and Nazi-occupied Europe.

In this map, only a few vignettes – several locations listed as “Off-Limits”, A Rest Center at Macon, France; a Company Club in Provence, France; a wartime “40/8”  Railway carriage in S.W.France; the flag of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne (the town which they defended during the bitter Christmastide siege by German forces during the Ardennes counter-offensive (The Battle of the Bulge) in December 1944) – provide indications of the war & the massive impact of the tens of thousands of US servicemen who saw active service in mainland Europe, following the Anzio & D-Day landings in Jan & June 1944 respectively.

Each Mem-O-Map had the potential to be further customized by its owner to provide a unique personalized geography and memorial of wartime service. This could be done by completing the dates of arrival and departure to/from the USA and by adding the individual’s name & organization/unit and the dates & movements of their unit, in this case across the map of Western Europe.

To read more about John Gottlieb Drury and his unusual Mem-O-Maps see to our recent Blog post

Refs: Katherine Harmon: You Are Here Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, p.119