36,000 Miles of Vacation Highways – Reaching Every Nook and Corner of America

Rare Greyhound map drawn by the talented John Groth.

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This wonderful and whimsical view of the United States was drawn by the gifted artist John Groth. It was issued in the mid to late 1930s to promote the nationwide routes of the Greyhound Bus Lines – “36,000 Miles of Vacation Highways – Reaching Every Nook and Corner of America.”

The image is a fantastic example of persuasive cartography, with a map projection that totally disregards geographic reality. The Midwest and Great Plains states are shown with some level of spatial congruity, but the Southeast, West Coast, and New England are highly distorted. Compare the relative sizes of Wisconsin and Louisiana! Abandoning realistic proportions has allowed the artist to run wild with decorative elements and illustrated vignettes.

A huge fish spanning the Great Lakes reinforces Michigan’s claim to the Fishing Paradise of the World, while a windhead aids sailors in Lake Superior. Amusing figures are engaged in a variety of fun activities that highlight the breadth of America’s recreational opportunities, industrial wealth, and rich history. The map presents a cultural microcosm of the pre-WWII United States, all conveniently accessible along the routes of Greyhound Lines.

Chicagoan John Groth (1908 – 1988) became the first Art Director for Esquire Magazine at the age of twenty-five. He would also work as a war correspondent in Europe during World War II (where he was among the first troops to liberate Paris), Korea, and Vietnam. In addition to combat dispatches, eye-catching sports drawings, comic strips, and illustrated novels, Groth created a number of pictorial maps throughout his illustrious career. This one is particularly scarce, and I’ve been unable to find other examples in OCLC, auction records, or elsewhere online.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1936

Author: John Groth

Sheet Width (in): 22.9

Sheet Height (in): 17.75

Condition: B-

Condition Description: Trimmed left margin that does not affect the image. A quarter sized burn hole in the lower right has been stabilized, but about a dime-sized hole remains and offsetting discoloration is visible in Lake Huron. Margins are moderately worn and soiled. Between fair and good condition.

Out of stock