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Clemens' Silent Teacher: Dissected Map of the United States, State of Illinois

Object Name: Map puzzle
Date: ca. 1882
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Medium: Wood, paper
Dimensions: Container (box): 2 1/4 x 9 x 7 1/2 in. (5.7 x 22.9 x 19.1 cm)
Place made: North America, United States
Description: "Clemens' Silent Teacher: Dissected Map of the U.S., State of Illinois" two-sided picture puzzle with an image of the State of Illinois on one side broken into counties and the other an advertisment for Sherwin-Williams paints with a Victorian home in the center and four medallions in the corners with images of a woman holding a paint can, painted walls, a horse drawn carriage and a train car; box cover chromolithographed with a map of the U.S. in the foreground with personifications of the nations of the world lined up to enter; box cover inscribed, "CLEMENS' SILENT TEACHER/ Dissected/ MAP OF THE/ UNITED STATES/ AND OF/ EACH STATE/ IN COUNTIES/ MANUFACTUERED BY/ REV. E. J. CLEMENS,/ CLAYVILLE/ N.Y."
Credit Line: The Liman Collection
Object Number: 2000.265
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The imagery on the box cover of this dissected map (puzzle) suggests that even school children were aware of the United States' role as an international imperial power. The various national figures may represent immigrant streams. If so, then the African American contribution to the makeup of the American population has been purposely minimized and obscured. The woman lacks a national costume (in fact she wears nothing at all), implying that black Americans were present but not welcome.


"The Games We Played: Victorian Games from the Liman Collection," New-York Historical Society, December 4, 2001-March 24, 2002.