Picture the world map six decades ago. Were all the countries and their flags the same as we know them today? How about traveling a couple of millennia back? What were the Seven Wonders of the ancient world and where did they reside? Where is the Blue Grotto (in Italian: Grotta Azzurra) on our planet, the place with the “unearthly blue light within?” How about the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis? Where is “The Sleeping Woman,” (in Spanish: La Mujer Dormida) and who was she in Aztec Mythology? How many watchtowers does the Great Wall of China (in Chinese: 長城, chang cheng) have and how long is it? What book was printed by Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, in 1455? Who painted Mona Lisa and which museum does she grace with her mysterious smile? The answers to all these questions can be found by simply looking at a puzzle, called World Wonders: A Pictorial Map, designed and drawn by Ernest Dudley Chase and made by Jaymar Specialty Company in 1954.
The puzzle is full of interesting facts and observations about our planet. One such observation reads: “The greatest Wonder of the World is the earth itself, a mere speck of matter in the immensity of space, yet here indeed are boundless oceans, vast continents, majestic mountain ranges, multifarious flora and fauna, superb manifestations of Nature, a wealth of minerals, and over all the glorious canopy of the sky. Finally, the result of a delicate adjustment of conditions, marvelous to contemplate, the miracle of human life itself, reaching sublime fulfillment in the flowering of genius and imagination, and their glorious attainment – the Sciences and Art.”
To see this well preserved puzzle on display, along with stamps from around the world, please visit the International Languages Department. Our kind appreciation to Kenneth Low for generously donating the puzzle to the Los Angeles Public Library. In his words: “My siblings and I received the puzzle as children. We enjoyed putting the puzzle together and found it highly educational. As children who never traveled, it was our window to the world.”