Review: Monmonier, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

April 13, 2006
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jacket imageLibrary Journal recently praised Mark Monmonier’s new book From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame: "An amusing, informative, and topical study of the contentious issue of place names, this is recommended for public and academic libraries."
Brassiere Hills, Alaska. Mollys Nipple, Utah. Outhouse Draw, Nevada. In the early twentieth century, it was common for towns and geographical features to have salacious, bawdy, and even derogatory names. In the age before political correctness, mapmakers readily accepted any local preference for place names, prizing accurate representation over standards of decorum. From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow probes this little-known chapter in American cartographic history by considering the intersecting efforts to computerize mapmaking, standardize geographic names, and respond to public concern over ethnically offensive appellations. Interweaving cartographic history with tales of politics and power, celebrated geographer Mark Monmonier locates his story within the past and present struggles of mapmakers to create an orderly process for naming that avoids confusion, preserves history, and serves different political aims.

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