Special Purposes

Escape Map A, printed on very thin mulberry tissue paper in three colors. The scale is 1:2,000,000 and a magnifying glass should have been issued with it. This is the primary map that was concealed in various items smuggled to British and American POWs.

Escape Map A, printed on very thin mulberry tissue paper in three colors. The scale is 1:2,000,000 and a magnifying glass should have been issued with it. This is the primary map that was concealed in various items smuggled to British and American POWs.

There’s an almost unlimited variety of maps used for special purposes that can seem curious but are really quite useful and necessary. Of critical importance to some, to others these maps can seem unusual: insurance maps, bicycle maps, globes, celestial charts, sea charts, aeronautical charts, wine region maps, railroad maps … Collecting these offers a unique perspective into our history and can be the source of many days of research.

At a recent meeting one of our members presented a few of her collection of escape maps from World War II. Often printed on silk and hidden inside other objects, they were produced in the millions and sent to soldiers and airmen being held in war camps behind the lines in Europe.