Boston Public Library
Exhibitions

Map 17

John F. Waite (fl. 1894-1900), Uncle Sam’s Family Tree, Chicago, 1900
John F. Waite (fl. 1894-1900)
Uncle Sam’s Family Tree
Chicago, 1900
Created as an advertisement for Arbuckles, a wholesale grocer, the territorial growth of the United States is compared to an orchard tree. Printed on the verso of a United States map, this unusual graphic is essentially a geographical time line, charting the chronological growth of the nation.

In representing the United States, the cartographer uses a tree that sits in “the great American garden” and is tended by the mythical figure Uncle Sam. The roots symbolize the original thirteen colonies, while subsequent “grafts” and branches represent other states added by war, purchase, and annexation.

 

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