Armour’s Food Source Map


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The wonderfully bold heading on this pictorial map of the United States makes it clear that the content intends to promote the nation’s agricultural agenda. It was issued in 1922 by the Armour Food Company of Chicago, during a period of financial difficulty that saw the Armour family sell its controlling interests to financier Frederick Prince.

A quote from J. Ogden Armour, who would be ousted as company president the year after publication, summarizes the relationship between livestock and agriculture. “Because nearly all industries depend on agriculture, the prosperity of the entire nation is inseparably linked with the marketing of meat and other animal products through the packing industry.” A second phrase in the lower left echos the same sentiment – “Packing Industry Links Farms With Cities and Enables Farmers to Get Highest Value For Agricultural Products”. An obvious effort to encourage investors and loans while the company was falling deeply in debt and hemorrhaging cash.

The spectacular pictorial map was originally created as an advertisement for the firm in 1919, according to author Stephen Hornsby, and only later issued as the individual sheet seen here. Twenty-five different agricultural products are numbered and vibrantly illustrated in dense formations throughout the image. According to a note in the lower right, “the geographic location of the principal products in the divisions of the United States have been effected with a fair degree of accuracy.”

Armour plants are uniformly represented with red factory buildings and can be seen in at least twelve different states. Various methods of harvesting agricultural products are also illustrated. The verso provides additional advertising fodder for Armour and includes a variety of text and advertisements that showcase the company’s numous products, business efficiencies, and historic contributions to the development of the nation.

Sources: Picturing America (Hornsby); Encyclopedia of Chicago; Rumsey 9905.002

Map Details

Publication Date: 1922

Author: Armour and Company

Sheet Width (in): 39

Sheet Height (in): 24.75

Condition: B

Condition Description: Heavy creasing along former fold lines, including small spots of separation along the edges and in the lower left corner, about 3" of which have been repaired on the verso with archival tape. Old manuscript notes in green ink label the Gulf of Mexico and list forty-five states. Several states are numbered within the image. Remains in good condition, or slightly better, overall.

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