In A Map of the Open Country of a Woman’s Heart – Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein” (1830s), D.W. Kellogg & Co. of Hartford, Connecticut, toured the female “country” and published what they found therein.
It was a vision of ‘True Womanhood’, an idealised guide to being and finding the perfect woman. As Barbara Welter noted in The Cult of True Womanhood, American Quarterly (Summer 1966): “The attributes of True Womanhood, by which a woman judged herself and was judged by her husband, her neighbors, and her society, could be divided into four cardinal virtues—piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. … Without them … all was ashes. With them she was promised happiness and power.”
This map of a woman’s heart tells us much about what the artist and his society believed about women. This illustration perfectly captures nineteenth-century ideas about womanhood.. According to this map, Love is at the center of a woman’s heart, and Sentimentality and Sentiment (including Good Sense, Discrimination, Hope, Enthusiasm, and Platonic Affection) take up a sizeable portion of the entire territory. This region of Sentiment and Sentimentality is separated from the larger, treacherous areas of a woman’s heart: Selfishness and Coquetry pose dangers, especially to gentleman travelers, and these attributes suggest that all women are basically untrustworthy. The largest regions, Love of Admiration, Love of Dress, and Love of Display, all suggest that women are also essentially shallow and frivolous. Although the image claims to have been drawn by “A Lady,” it is just as likely that it proceeded from the imagination of a man.
For purposes of balance – and why not buy two? – D.W.Kellogg published a map of the man’s heart. A Map of the Fortified Country of Man’s Heart was also created by “A Lady”:
In contrast, the Fortified Country of Man’s Heart is portrayed as a citadel, bristling with defenses intended to ward off attack. The outer redoubt is the Dread of Matrimony; at the center is the Citadel of Self Love. Much of the country appears inhospitable to romance, with such regions as the Land of Love of Power, the Land of Love of Money, the Land of Love of Ease, and the Land of Love of Economy. The Land of Romance occupies only one small corner of Man’s Heart.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.