This 1920s Chicago gangland map is endlessly fascinating

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 06/25/2014, 12:30pm

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Chicago’s current gang problems – and the associated violence – are myriad. But the 1920s and ’30s, complete with one Alphonse Capone, were no picnic, either.

This stylized rendering of a gangland map of Chicago offers up a wealth of information, but it’s also just plain entertaining. The map, housed at the Newberry Library, was published in 1931 with a sense of purpose – the official title: A Map of Chicago’s gangland from authentic sources: designed to inculcate the most important principles of piety and virtue in young persons, and graphically portray the evils and sin of large citiesaccording to Slate:

This “Gangland” map of Chicago, published by the firm Bruce-Roberts Inc. in 1931, cloaks itself in moral purpose, trumpeting that it’s “Designed to Inculcate the Most Important Principles of Piety and Virtue in Young Persons and Graphically Portray the Evils and Sin of Large Cities.” Despite that virtuous cover story, the map is pure fun, full of comic-book vernacular, ironic commentary, and references to true crimes of the recent past.

You can find more information and an interactive version at the Newberry site.