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Pocket Map – A Safety Guide for Those Contemplating A Trip on the Sea of Matrimony

  • Author: 'I.C.K'
  • Publisher: J I Austen Co, Chicago
  • Date: 1906
  • Dimensions: Map folded: 11.3 x 7 cms. Unfolded: 27.8 x 22.3 cms.


“Pocket Map” issued in 1906 by the Chicago postcard publisher, J I Austen Co, offering a comic voyage through the Sea of Matrimony

About this piece:

Pocket Map – A Safety Guide for Those Contemplating A Trip on the Sea of Matrimony

Postcard size paper covers : 14.6 x 8.9 cms, with tongue and slit closer at middle of front to allow whole to be sealed for posting. Covers open to reveal “Itinerary” of the Trip on the Sea of Matrimony printed to versos of covers and, adhered centrally, a folding colour-printed map of the Sea of Matrimony. Map folded : 11.3 x 7 cms. Unfolded : 27.8 x 22.3 cms. Back of cover for message and address, unused. Fine condition.

The Chicago firm of J. I. Austen Co. became one of the leading American postcard publishers of the early 20th Century, producing a wide array of humorous, photographic and genre style postcards. They also produced short story books and pamphlets. The copyright for this map is dated 1906, at which date the firm was located in third floor offices at 199 East Van Buren Street, Chicago. The firm’s leading directors, per a local Business Directory of that same year, were Joseph L Strauss, President and Managing Director and Frank H Alt, Treasurer.

This matrimonial map is designed as a so-called “Pocket Map”, enclosed within lightweight cardboard covers, which close securely at the front by means of a shaped tongue on one flap and slit on the adjacent one. The title is printed on the front covers. Opening the two front flaps reveals an “Itinerary” printed on the inside and a centrally adhered folding map of the Sea of Matrimony.

The Itinerary probably provides the best explanation of the map itself and reads as follows :

” This map is intended as a guide for those contemplating a voyage on the Sea of Matrimony.

Starting at Hallaballoo Bay, in clear water, the sailing is fine, and bright passing through Wedding Joke Straits and to your first stopping-off point, Honeymoon Island. Leaving that place and touching First Quarrel Reef you still are in shallow waters and as telephone connections can be had with Charivari Point, it is advised to keep in cabin until Boohoo Bay has been passed. By this time you will be on your “Sea-legs” but are cautioned against Cape Henpeck, Club Island and Footlightia near Chip-in-Bay, where many a good sailor has been wrecked. Passing these points on your journey, danger is again scented along Cooking School Point and Sinking Islands near the tenth Meridian. If surviving these danger lines, great care must be exercised in navigating along the Servant Archipelago. Pirates, tyrants, and great luminaries abound in these Islands and it is indeed a skilful Navigator who can steer clear in these waters. Shallow water is again encountered at Boarding House Island, Hotelia and Lovinacottage Island and when once rounded the balance of the journey promises well. Good cheer and happiness arises when in sight of The Isle of Little Blessings. By this time and when Comfort Cove is reached, the 50th Meridian line is seen by the glasses and in the distance hove Snowy Peak and Mt.Baldy. The journey through the Sea of Matrimony nears its close when Golden Wedding Island is touched. When a landing is made at Mt.Joy your journey will have ended.

The route shown herein gives the clearest and most entrancing views of the majestic peaks, which are never lost to view. While high speed has been attained in the voyage, we hope it has not been at the sacrifice of safety and comfort. At an average of ten lovers knots per hour, Golden Wedding Island should be sighted on schedule time and final passage to the land of Joy and Peace and Heart-Desire should be in clear water and in easy sailing.”

Added humour is brought to the map by the shape and form of many of the map’s topographical features. For example, Cape Henpeck takes the shape of a hen, Footlightia Island takes the shape of two stage-tapping boots; Cooking School Point assumes the shape of a rolling pin; The Sinking Islands take on the form of a loaf, doughnut and baked pie, the three chained together and supported by Buoys. Interestingly the Sinking Islands are located off the shoreline named The Reef of Husband’s woe. In the nearby Servant Archipelago, whose islands are named Hibernia, Afro-America, Teutonia, Norwegia and Anyoldia, each island takes on the perceived features of its title-holder. The three Islands of Little Blessings take the outline of a Safety Pin, Rattle and Baby bottle respectively.

It is particularly topical to note the wondrous novelty of a Long Distance Telephone Line connecting Showerville in Hullaballo Bay, via two or three small islands, with First Quarrel Reef. American long-distance telephone communications in 1906 still remained at a relatively undeveloped stage. By 1901 a commercial telephone service had been established that connected Chicago and Philadelphia; by 1913 this had been extended to link New York and Denver, but it was not until 1915 that the first transcontinental service was established linking New York and San Francisco, with Alexander Graham Bell making the first call between the two cities.

The monograph initials of the map’s artist and designer, “ICK”, appear in the lower right. It has not yet proved possible to identify the artist to whom these initials belong.