Carl Crow, an American journalist and ad man who lived in Shanghai for 25 years, designed this historical map of the city in 1935. Crow was a ceaseless promoter of China in general and Shanghai in particular, and the map illustrates his vision of a “cosmopolitan” city where American, French, British, and Chinese cultures mixed.
Since its forcible opening in the middle of the 19th century, Shanghai, a “treaty port” designated for Chinese-Western trade, had been host to self-governing foreign settlements. The Shanghai Municipal Council, composed of representatives from these settlements, published this map, and the vignettes ranging around the borders of the map illustrate a polycultural history, juxtaposing portraits of a tea house and a pagoda with images of the French signal station and a buttoned-down statue of British diplomat Sir Robert Hart.
Crow, who had written several travel books about China, would go on to publish the bestseller 400 Million Customers: The Experiences, Some Happy, Some Sad of an American in China and What They Taught Him (1937). This book was a humorous how-to manual for doing business in the Middle Kingdom, merged with what historian Stephen R. MacKinnon calls a “self-deprecating melange of stories” about Crow's decades in China.
Click on the image below to reach a zoomable version, or visit the map’s page in the Boston Public Library’s online collections.