The Map: Beverly Hills, 1926
Kate Wiles on a ‘map to the stars’, designed to promote a Los Angeles neighbourhood to Hollywood’s new celebrities.
Unlike modern star maps, aimed at tourists intending to sightsee, this map was produced as a piece of promotion for a residential development by George E. Read in 1924. His plan was to market Beverly Hills as the home of the stars at a time when cinema was changing the face of celebrity.
By the mid-1920s, studios were producing their own maps with directions to their stars’ homes, cultivating the idea of celebrity and encouraging fans to see them as icons. As Hollywood grew as the centre of celebrity, stars began investing in property there, making their homes symbols of their ascendancy and, thus, tourist sites. Expert on celebrity, Martin Kaplan, has compared the trip to see a celebrity home to a religious pilgrimage.