Phebe Cutter. "The United States". [Schoolgirl map of the United States].
Drawn ca. 1835. Ink on wove paper. Original outline watercolor. 15 1/2 x 19 1/8 (neatlines). Narrow margins. Bottom right corner lightly chipped, not affecting image. Paper somewhat time-toned. Repaired tear at bottom just into neat lines. Overall, good condition.
As an outgrowth of the same educational thrust that drove the production of embroidery samplers, schoolgirl maps represent a progression in attitudes toward girlhood education and female intellect. Where embroidery showed off a young lady's refinement and artistic skill, a hand-drawn map indicated those refinements as well as lessons on more worldly topics. Though such a map would hardly see use outside the domestic setting, the instruction of map-drawing for young girls indicates a desire for females to have greater knowledge of the shape of the world.
Phebe Cutter's meticulous map includes detailed topographic, demographic and information. Her rendering of coastal inlets, bays, and islands is remarkable: the shading of coastal lines is finer than usually seen on such hand-drawn maps. Throughout the unsettled portions of the south and west, Native American tribes are noted.
We can date this map to the mid 1830s as the capital of Illinois is Vandalla, Arkansas is partially shown with its extended borders, Missouri is a state and the Northwest and Michigan Territories are also indicated. All in all, a quintessential example of the schoolgirl map.