A Hysterical Map of the Grand Coulee
Lindgren, "Jolly" John & Lindgren, Oscar
Date of Creation:
Large dams, like the Grand Coulee, constituted an important part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. These included the Bureau of Reclamation's Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. A concrete gravity dam, Grand Coulee took eight years to build, employed thousands of men during the Great Depression and, when completed in 1942, provided the enormous electrical power necessary to make aluminum, so essential for World War II production of planes and ships. It was Grand Coulee, as well, that powered the production of plutonium at the nearby Hanford Site, which figured prominently in the making of the atomic bomb (National Park Service online).
The Lindgren brothers of Spokane, Washington, “began as printers and sign makers in the prosperous 1920s. As the Depression took hold, they added humorous maps of the Pacific Northwest to their product line. Designed by Jolly Lindgren and produced using silk-screen stencils, the maps were tagged “hysterical maps”. Jolly declared at the time: “What this country needs now is something to put a smile on people’s faces”” (Hornsby).