Map of the day

Source – Cornell University

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This is Ann . . . She drinks blood!

How awesome is this map? Drawn in 1943 by Theodore Geisel, later famously known as the beloved author, Dr Seuss.

Collectors comments are as follows –

A U.S. Army poster produced to educate the troops about areas of malaria risk and particularly notable for its illustrations of the malaria mosquito by a young Army Captain name Theodore Geisel – known to us today as Dr. Seuss!

The verso is a typical government War Department “Newsmap” for Monday, November 8, 1943, an update on current military developments.

The Japanese conquest of Indonesia and the Philippines in early 1942 cut the Allies off from their sources of the malaria drug quinine. The results were nearly catastrophic, so much so that in some campaigns casualties from malaria outstripped those from hostile action.

For example, between July 9 and September 10, 1943 no fewer than 21,482 of the American soldiers serving in Sicily were admitted to the hospital for malaria, in contrast to “only” 17,375 battle casualties. By war’s end, however, the military had developed the ability to control the disease through aggressive prevention and public health measures.

One element of the anti-malaria campaign was an aggressive effort to educate front-line soldiers, the ones most likely to be exposed to the disease. The result was a flood of educational material, of which this wonderful educational poster is just one example.

Playing on Anopheles, the Latin name of the malarial mosquito, it features the punning title “This is Ann ….. she drinks blood!” The title is flanked by two portraits of Ann herself, in one of which she cheerfully prepares to quaff a glass of blood.

Below the title are three columns of text exhorting the troops: “She [Ann] can knock you flat so you’re no good to your country, your outfit or yourself. You’ve got the dope, the nets and stuff to lick her if you will USE IT.”

The lower half of the poster is taken up by a large thematic map using shades of red to indicate relative risks of contracting malaria around the world. These, unfortunately, included the islands of the South Pacific and southern Italy, the two regions where American forces were most heavily engaged when this poster was produced at the end of 1943.

Though unsigned, the illustrations are in the unmistakable style of Theodore Geisel (aka Dr Seuss), who held the rank of Army Captain during the war and produced educational films and pamphlets for the military.

The text is probably by Munro Leaf, author of The Story of Ferdinand. The two men also collaborated on a booklet with the title “This Is Ann / She’s Dying to Meet You,” featuring graphics in a similar vein (though no map) and more extensive text.

digital.library.cornell.edu


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