The largest missionary map we have seen, this staggeringly massive production was published in 1905 by Truman D. Collins and known euphemistically as the ‘Collins Map.’ Printed on waxed linen cloth, several sheets of which have been stitched together to form a whole, the map presents the world in two large hemispheres. Color coding divides the world on religious grounds, illustrating the lands of various faiths, including Protestants, Roman Catholics, Greek and Eastern [Churches], Jews, Mohammedans, and Heathens. In addition, there are religious slogans, Biblical quotes, and statistical charts. The map was intended for ‘big-tent’ evangelical meetings where it would be used as a didactic tool to promote conversion and explain missionary ideology.
Christianizing the World
It the second half of the 19th century, it was commonly believed that the Christianization of the world was a pre-requisite for the Second Coming of Christ. Maps like this, which were issued for the proselytization effort, tended to simplify global religious diversity. They present an easily digestible and preferred model of religion; wherein large geographical blocks can be assigned to this or that faith. This approach allowed for propagandization of the missionary effort itself, selling the successes of missionary work not only to those being converted, but also at home to future missionary generations and financial backers.
Lithography and Missionary Maps
Large format cloth maps like this began appearing around 1845, when the rise of commercial lithographic printing in the United States made their production both practical and economical. Unlike copper plate printing process, lithographic printing could easily imprint images on cloth. This was of particular value for missionary work, which often involved harsh field conditions that would quickly destroy any similarly sized paper map.
Publication History and Census
The map is first mentioned in a manual published by the Missionary Society in 1897,
Through the Genericity of Mr. T. D. Collins the Missionary Society has been able to publish a large and beautiful wall map of the world. It was prepared at great expense and would ordinarily cost much more than the amount for which it is now offered. It is in two styles and can be had for $5 or $`2, according to the quality of cloth and coloring, of Missionary Secretaries, 150 Fifth Ave, New York. Every Chapter should have one.
After the initial 1897 publication, the map was issued in several subsequent updated editions, all of which were promoted and widely distributed by the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Nonetheless, today this map is rare. It does not appear in the OCLC and we are aware of no other examples of the present edition.
This map is owned jointly with Geographicus and Vetus Carta.