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Taylor White, Ruth

Ruth Taylor White, née Taylor, (1899-1985), was an American pictorial cartographer and illustrator, best known for her output of colourful tourist and promotional maps. She is considered the leading exponent of pictorial mapping during its golden age. Her beautiful plans have been described as "delightful", "charming" and "whimsical". However, more recently Glen Creason of the Los Angeles Public Library has reappraised her as "The Great Cartographer With an Asterisk". Acknowledging her 1935 atlas Our USA - a Gay Geography as "her true masterpiece" for her technical and artistic merits, he notes her insensitive figurative portrayals - especially of minorities and their cultures. Her maps are a product of the prevailing prejudices and attitudes of the era, and the stereotypes and tropes she deployed will today be considered offensive by some. Today, the continuing importance of her cartography increasingly resides in her graphic illustration of the social reality, order and attitudes of the time.