Ernest Dudley Chase enjoyed making pictorial maps; it was his hobby. A hobby that spanned over three decades, became a small business, produced more than 50 unique, artlike maps, and is now on display at the Harvard Map Collection. The new exhibit, “Greetings From Winchester: The Pictorial Maps of Ernest Dudley Chase,” explores the creative, humorous, and intensely detailed works that Chase created in the last three decades of his life. Chase’s maps range from his allegorical rendition of “Loveland” to his whimsical “United States as Viewed by California,” from his battle maps of World War II to “Peace Map of the World United.”
A long-time resident of Winchester, Chase (1878-1966) worked as a graphic artist and executive in the greeting card industry. A man of abundant energy, Chase traveled extensively and recorded his experiences in thousands of detailed drawings. When he began to make maps in his early 50s, these sketches, as well as postcards and photos from guidebooks, served as raw material for the miniature renderings of monuments, industries, people, and landscapes that cover every inch of his intricate cartography.
The exhibit features a wide range of thematic maps: a history of aviation, a survey of world wonders, even a guide to stamps that illustrates the history of exploration and navigation. Although the maps cover many topics, they all display Chase’s characteristic style, including elaborate rose compasses, decorative borders surrounding the maps, and engaging pictures that represent both places and attitudes.
Although focusing primarily on Chase’s cartographic publications, the exhibit also includes his graphite and ink drawings, annual Winchester calendars, travel journals, greeting cards, and marketing material Chase created to sell and package his maps. Many items are on public display for the first time, including materials from the Winchester Historical Society, the Winchester Town Archives, and the private collection of Fred Holland, Chase’s stepson.
The exhibit is open through April 30 at the Harvard Map Collection, Pusey Library. Library hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The library is open to the public.