Earthly Mission

Can You Decode the Hieroglyphic Geography of the United States?

Below are pages from Anna Heermans’ 1875 project, A Hieroglyphic Geography of the United States, which tell little stories about the New England states and New York, in picture form. Published by E.P. Dutton & Co., the pictorial atlas was intended for educating children in an attempt to bring life to geographical information through imagery.

A rebus (the broad name for this type or writing system) replaces words, or parts of words, with pictures. Here’s an example of how it works from the New Hampshire page:

(Solution: “Mt Washington, the most elevated peak, is 6,234 feet high. The summit is an acre of comparatively level ground, upon which is the Tip Top House.”)

So are you good at geography? Try to decipher these (click images to enlarge).

Hieroglyphic Geography of Connecticut

Hieroglyphic Geography of Maine Hieroglyphic Geography of Massachusetts Hieroglyphic Geography of New Hapshire Hieroglyphic Geography of New York Hieroglyphic Geography of Rhode IslandHieroglyphic Geography of Vermont

via David Rumsey Map Collection

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