To (somewhat belatedly) celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, I wanted to share with you a love story that can be traced on maps going back decades. It all started in 1962 with the establishment of TourMap, Inc. by Robert (Dick) and Marjorie Ingalls of Seattle, Washington. Married in 1956, the couple’s goal was to create helpful and easy-to-read tourism maps that also made for a fun souvenir. Though their earliest publications (the first map was issued in 1964) show simply a signature, it wasn’t long before the dynamic duo was adding a small self-portrait (designed by Marjorie) in the corner of each map they created.
Though they can’t be found on all of their maps, the well-dressed couple, and eventually, their dog, Tiffany, makes dozens of appearances across the decades. And the area is not only limited to Seattle. I’ve found TourMaps of San Francisco, Spokane, Portland, Salem, London, and Honolulu. They generally follow the same overall aesthetic, using bright colors and vignettes to identify local businesses, places of interest, and transportation options.
They enjoyed tremendous success. Over 200 separate TourMaps were published during the couple’s 5 decade-plus career. Sadly, just one week after their 60th wedding anniversary in 2016, Richard passed away. Three years later, Marjorie passed at the age of 82. As so eloquently described in her obituary, “Now she and Dick [Richard] are on the trip of a lifetime- off to see the universe.”
When my wife and I went to visit friends in Seattle last year, I had to get my hands on the latest TourMap. I’m pleased to report that the Ingalls are looking as sharp as ever, and with an estimated 2 million maps distributed each year, it’s likely their love story will endure for many years to come.