World Geo-Graphic Atlas

Herbert Bayer
Container Corporation of America

Full title

World Geo-Graphic Atlas; A Composite of Man's Environment

This is a wonderful example one of the best atlases ever made in the US. The atlas has been designed for a Container Corporation of America by an Austrian and American graphic designer, artist, photographer, typographer and architect Herbert Bayer, student of the Bauhaus art school who left Germany after Nazis begun attacking modern art, organising exhibitions of "degenerate" art in Germany in 1937. Bayer has been assigned to create an atlas by a chairman of Container Corporation of America, Walter P. Paepcke, and in cooperation with design director of Container Corporation Egbert Jacobson, Bayer managed to create "one of a kind" atlas with unique visual style, where "standard" maps are accompanied by rich graphic visuals, smaller thematic maps and charts with pictorial symbols which convey much better picture of the topic than ordinary tables of data.

Although the atlas was printed in 30,000 copies, it was never available for purchase to a broad public, but only distributed to customers of Container Corporation. Production costs of each copy were astronomical, reaching roughly around 16 USD per copy (keep in mind the real value of US dollar in 1950 was about 10 times higher than in 2020). Nevertheless, Paepcke reportedly declined offers from commercial publishing companies to reprint the atlas.

The topics this atlas covers include astronomy, geology, meteorology, climate, vegetation, transportation, economy, industry, agriculture, population, culture, religion and more. The maps of the US states were made and printed by Rand McNally, Chicago, Illinois. One of the most striking maps of this atlas, The Physiographic Map of the USA was originally designed by Erwin Raisz, author of The Atlas of Global Geography and two other highly sought-after atlases. Majority of the "foreign" maps of this atlas were supplied by Instituto Geografico de Agostini, Novara, Italy.

A great article about this atlas can be found here.


Complete including carton sleeve box. Excellent condition, the cloth boards are without any stains whatsoever (quite rare for this atlas). Front endpaper has small rubbed areas, otherwise pages are clean, no stamps, no marks or particular signs of use. The carton sleeve has rubbed edges, otherwise it's in good condition.

272 pages of maps
Width × Height
28,5 x 30
Total map area
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