A Map of the Bermuda Islands (1930)
A Map of the Bermuda Islands (1930)

A Map of the Bermuda Islands (1930)

A new piece of artwork is on display at the Bermuda Government London Office!

A Map of the Bermuda Islands (1930) is a multifaceted pictorial map of Bermuda, designed for the tourist market by Elizabeth Shurtleff and Helen F. McMillin. Commissioned by Bermuda Bookstores in Hamilton, the map was praised by the New York Times Art Department as “one of the most attractive pieces of cartography in our day.”

Between 1926 and 1930, Shurtleff and McMillin created a series of pictorial maps and established the Graphic History Association in Boston to publish them. McMillin focused on research, while Shurtleff concentrated on design and drawing. In the 20th century, it was common for women to be involved in the production of pictorial maps. The Bermuda map features borders adorned with sea creatures designed by Elizabeth L. McMillin, Helen F. McMillin’s niece.

The map invites visitors to Bermuda by showcasing its history from the era of its earliest explorer, Juan de Bermudez, and highlighting its culture and landmarks. It features beaches, golf courses, forts, and various modes of transportation, including horse-drawn carriages, ships, and airplanes. Iconic Bermudian landmarks and tourist attractions such as St. David’s Lighthouse, Crystal Caves, Admiralty House, and Somerset Bridge are depicted.

Notable illustrations include:

-A ship marked “Lady” and a dinghy with a case of gunpowder illustrating the 1775 Gunpowder Plot, where 100 barrels of gunpowder were successfully stolen from a magazine near Tobacco Bay, St. George’s, and shipped to supply the Continental Army. In return, the Continental Congress exempted Bermuda from the trade embargo with all British colonies due to a deal with Sir Henry Tucker, which was crucial for Bermuda’s economy reliant on maritime trade.

-The old salt house at Coney Island, demonstrating Bermuda’s historical dependence on salt brought from the Turks Islands. At its peak, Bermudians handled 130,000 bushels of salt annually.

-Sessions House, the oldest parliament in the British Empire outside London, depicted along with the rubber tree at Par-la-Ville Park, marking the limits of the old town.

-Convicts on Boaz Island, highlighting Bermuda’s use as a penal station from 1842 to 1863.

-A hint of pirate gold buried on Cooper’s Island.

The map serves as a nostalgic reminder of Bermuda’s rich history and cultural heritage, showing how much has changed and yet how much remains the same.

For a detailed parish-by-parish description of the map’s features, please visit https://bostonraremaps.com/inventory/stellar-pictorial-map-bermuda-1930/.