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A Closer Look at William Gropper Folklore Map

William Gropper, considered a social realist artist, showcased the diversity of national myths and folk stories through this map distributed abroad by the U.S. Department of State starting in 1946. [1] The map depicts familiar Americana like Johnny Appleseed, Huck Finn and New England Witches.
Although there is so much to explore in this map, my eyes were drawn to one of the larger illustrations - Paul Bunyan hovering over the state of Washington. That takes me back to 5th grade when I was researching Minnesota for a school report, and read about Paul Bunyan the Giant Lumberjack, and his blue ox. Sure enough - if you scan over to Minnesota, there's Paul Bunyan again!
The story of Paul Bunyan revolves around his superhuman strength. According to the legend, Paul was so big at birth, it exhausted five storks to deliver him to his parents. At just a week old, he was able to fit into his dad's clothes. In a day, he was able to eat 40 bowls of porridge. For his first birthday, he got a big blue ox named Babe. Babe grew so large that her footsteps created the 10,000 lakes around Minnesota. Paul grew to be as tall as the trees and can clear forests with just one axe swing. Paul and Babe were unbeatable lumberjacks, they became the known across the United State for clearing forests in an instant. The legend goes that Paul created the Grand Canyon by just dragging his axe behind him. [2]
Statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox can be found in several states such as Minnesota, Oregon and California. [3]
Here's the link to our Wiillam Gropper Folklore Map puzzle if you'd like to explore it yourself!

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