This map reflects American interest in the exploration of both physical and emotional realms.
This hand-colored satirical map provides a window into dominant nineteenth-century beliefs about women’s moral character and interior lives. Though not a valentine itself, maps such as this one sometimes appeared on vinegar valentines. This type of map was inspired by matrimonial maps, such as the Hymeneal Expositor; or, Matrimonial Chart, shown below. These kinds of maps gained prevalence in France in the seventeenth century and England in the eighteenth, sometimes as parables.
The “open country of woman’s heart” is divided into various regions, each representing a different trait, feeling, or interest. Toward the bottom right corner of the map, a region called “Sentiment” is enclosed by the “Ego Mountains.” Colored yellow, it is clearly distinguished from the other regions that make up a woman’s heart. These mountains separate women’s positive qualities, such as love, hope, and enthusiasm, from the undesirable qualities that make up the rest of the map. Created during a time of westward expansion into the land bought some thirty years earlier in the Louisiana Purchase, but drawn before the large land acquisition of the Mexican-American War, this map reflects American interest in the exploration of both physical and emotional realms. It casts the emotional landscape as a geographic space to traverse.