Rand McNally

Rand McNally

Infobox Company
company_name = Rand McNally
company_type = Private
foundation = Chicago (1856)
founder = William Rand, Andrew McNally
location = Skokie, Illinois
industry = publishing, education, travel, transportation
products = maps, atlases, software
homepage = [http://randmcnally.com randmcnally.com]

Rand McNally is the preeminent American publisher of maps, atlases, and globes for travel, reference, commercial, and educational uses. It also provides online consumer street maps and directions, as well as commercial transportation routing software and mileage data. The company is headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois with an additional office in Irvine, California and a distribution center in Richmond, Kentucky.


In 1856, William Rand opened a printing shop in Chicago and two years later hired a newly-arrived Irish immigrant, Andrew McNally, to work in his shop. The shop did big business with the forerunner of the Chicago Tribune, and in 1859 Rand and McNally were hired to run the Tribune's entire printing operation. In 1868, the two men formally established Rand McNally & Co. and bought out the Tribune's printing business. The company initially focused on printing tickets and timetables for Chicago's booming railroad industry, and the following year supplemented that business by publishing complete railroad guides. In 1870, the company expanded into printing business directories and an illustrated newspaper, the "People's Weekly". According to company lore, during the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Rand McNally quickly had two of the company's printing machines buried in a sandy beach of Lake Michigan, and the company was up and running again only a few days later.

The very first Rand McNally map, created using a new cost-saving wax engraving method, appeared in the December 1872 edition of its "Railroad Guide". Rand McNally became an incorporated business in 1873, with Rand as its president and McNally as vice president. The "Business Atlas", containing maps and data pertinent to business planning, was first published in 1876. The atlas is still updated today, now titled the "Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide". The Trade Book department was established in 1877, publishing such titles as "The Locust Plague in the United States". Rand McNally began publishing educational maps in 1880 with its first line of maps, globes, and geography textbooks, soon followed by a world atlas. The company began publishing general literature in 1884 with its first title, "The Secret of Success", and the Textbook department was established in 1894 with "The Rand McNally Primary School Geography". Also in 1894, the company opened an office in New York City headed by Caleb S. Hammond, who later started his own map company.

Rand McNally's first road map, the "New Automobile Road Map of New York City & Vicinity", was published in 1904. In 1910, the company acquired the line of "Photo-Auto Guides" from G.S. Chapin, which provided photographs of routes and intersections with directions. Andrew McNally II (son of Frederick McNally) personally took photos on his honeymoon for the Chicago-to-Milwaukee edition. The company continued to expand its book publishing business, with best-selling children's books such as "The Real Mother Goose" (1916) and "Kon-Tiki" (1950).

Rand McNally was the first major map publisher to embrace a system of numbered highways. One of its cartographers, John Brink, invented a system that was first published in 1917 on a map of Peoria, Illinois. In addition to creating maps with numbered roads, Rand McNally also erected many of the actual roadside highway signs. This system was subsequently adopted by state and federal highway authorities. The oil industry quickly developed an interest in road maps, enticing Americans to explore and consume more gasoline. In 1920, Rand McNally began publishing road maps for the Gulf Oil Company, to be freely distributed at its service stations. By 1930, Rand McNally had two major road map competitors, General Drafting and Gousha, the latter of which was founded by a former Rand McNally sales representative. The "Rand McNally Auto Chum", later to become the ubiquitous "Rand McNally Road Atlas", was first published in 1924. The first full-color edition was published in 1960. It became fully digitized in 1993.

The "Goode's School Atlas", named for its first editor, Dr. J. Paul Goode, was published in 1923. It became a standard text for high school and college geography curricula. Later retitled "Goode's World Atlas", it is now in its 21st edition.

The first Rand McNally Travel Store was opened in New York City in 1937. In the 1990s it was turned into a chain with 29 locations, but by 2005 all had been closed as a cost-saving measure.

Rand McNally moved its headquarters from Chicago to suburban Skokie, Illinois in 1952. The company opened its Versailles, Kentucky, book publishing plant in 1962 with 300,000 square feet and 23 employees. In 1994, the plant was the first to implement a new Kodak computer-to-plate printing system. [Wilken, Earl (1 December 1994) "Rand McNally adds Kodak CTP system". Graphic Arts Monthly] When the plant was sold in 1997, it was over 1,000,000 square feet and employed 1,255 people.

In 1963, because the company was not satisfied with the ability of existing map projections to create intuitive depictions of the entire world, they commissioned Dr. Arthur H. Robinson to develop what became known as the Robinson projection, which became very popular and was used extensively for constructing maps of the entire world. [ [http://www.warnercnr.colostate.edu/class_info/nr502/lg2/projection_descriptions/robinson.html Robinson Projections ] ]

Rand McNally began creating maps digitally in 1982.

In 1989, Rand McNally donated its extensive collection of its maps to the Newberry Library. Now in possession of Gousha's archives as well, Rand McNally donated that map archive to the Newberry in late 2002. [ [http://www.newberry.org/smith/Mapline/96/96feature.html Mapline: A Newsletter Published by the Hermon Dunlap Smith center for the History of Cartography ] ]

With a string of acquisitions and growth throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Rand McNally employed over 4,000 people in four business groups. [ [http://www.answers.com/topic/rand-mcnally-company Rand McNally & Company: Information and Much More from Answers.com ] ] The company had been majority-owned by the McNally family since 1899, but by 1997 the family had decided to divest its interest in the company.


Rand McNally has always been a privately-held or "pink sheet" company, with stock held by very few parties and very thinly traded. [Bauman, Larry (3 November 1996) "Obtaining unlisted stocks can be difficult, rewarding" Dow Jones News Service] When Rand retired in 1899, he sold his shares in the company to McNally and the other company officers. The McNally family was the majority owner for nearly 100 years, from 1899 until 1997, at which time the family decided to divest its majority stake. The company was sold piecemeal; in January 1997, the company announced it was selling its Book Services Group, which employed 1,700 people in Versailles, Kentucky and Taunton, Massachusetts, to World Color Press for $155 million. [ [http://www.secinfo.com/dnPQq.67.7.htm SEC Info - Quebecor World USA Inc - 10-K405 - For 12/27/98 - EX-13 ] ] In February 1997, the DocuSystems Group was sold to Code Hennessy & Simmons, a Chicago-based private equity firm. [ [http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/stories/1997/02/03/daily2.html Rand McNally divests Troy business - Dayton Business Journal: ] ] [http://www.chsonline.com/partners/Investments.htm] In April 1997, the Media Services Group, which employed 350 people with offices in Nashville, Tennessee; Fremont, California; Shannon, Ireland; and the Asia-Pacific region, was sold to McQueen, a Scottish software company. [ [http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=11229 Mcqueen Boosts Global Operation Through The Acquisition Of Rand Mcnally Media Services Group ] ] [ [http://www.shannonsoft.ie/profile.html ShannonSoft ] ]

The sole remaining group, publishing, represented the core mapmaking business of the company. In November 1997, the McNally family completed its divestiture by selling its majority ownership to AEA Investors for a reported $500 million. [http://www.leonardgreen.com/news/011503-latimes-n.html Untitled Document ] ] Much of the purchase price was leveraged, meaning the company took on significant debt hedging on future earnings. AEA intended to capitalize on Rand McNally's brand recognition by bringing digital mapping to the masses and attracting public investors during the dot-com boom. However, the company fell behind the technology curve of upstarts such as MapQuest and fell further into debt. [Baeb, Eddie (30 July 2001) "Debt-laden map concern charts sale; Rand McNally technology lags, turnover hurts" Crain's Chicago Business] AEA's stake in the company was acquired by Leonard Green & Partners through a prepackaged Chapter 11 restructuring deal on 15 January 2003. In December 2007, Patriarch Partners, which had previously been a minority owner, bought out Leonard Green and the other minority owners to become the sole owner of Rand McNally. The company's convert|283008|sqft|m2|0|abbr=on building in Skokie, its home since 1952, was sold in February 2008 to Ida Crown Jewish Academy. The building originally housed a printing press and warehouse operations in addition to corporate offices, but had become underutilized. Rand's 280 employees will relocate to a smaller building nearby. [Schroedter, Andrew (9 January 2008) " [http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=27682 Rand McNally HQ on the block as company acquired] " Crain's Chicago Business] [Schroedter, Andrew (27 February 2008) " [http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=28356 Rand McNally in deal to sell Skokie HQ] " Crain's Chicago Business]

Rand McNally sold its Canadian subsidiary on 30 June 2008 to the newly-formed Canadian Cartographics Corporation. Under contract from Rand McNally, CCC will continue to create Canadian products under the Rand McNally name and distribute U.S. products to the Canadian market. [http://www.cccmaps.com/aboutus.aspx About Canadian Cartographics Corporation] ]


William Rand founded his print shop in 1856 and "Rand, McNally & Co." was formally established in 1868. The company was incorporated in 1873 with Rand as the first president and McNally vice-president. When Rand retired in 1899, Andrew McNally assumed the role of president until his death in 1904. Andrew's son, Frederick McNally, became president upon his father's death, just as the age of the automobile was beginning. When Frederick McNally died in 1907, his sister's husband, Henry Beach Clow, became president. Andrew McNally II took over in 1933. He and his heirs, Andrew McNally III and IV, successively served as president until 1993.

#1873–1899: William Rand
#1899–1904: Andrew McNally
#1904–1907: Frederick McNally (Andrew's son)
#1907–1933: Henry Beach Clow (Andrew's son-in-law)
#1933–1948: Andrew McNally II (Andrew's grandson)
#1948–1974: Andrew McNally III (Andrew's great-grandson)
#1974–1993: Andrew McNally IV (Andrew's great-great-grandson)
#1993–1997: John S. Bakalar (former Rand McNally CFO) [ [http://sec.edgar-online.com/1998/03/27/08/0000950124-98-001614/Section14.asp RC2 CORP - RCRC Annual Report (10-K)] ]
#1997–1999: Henry J. Feinberg (former head of Rand McNally Publishing Group) [ [http://www.iso.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1701 ISO - Rand McNally Exec and CEO of Monroe GuarantyInsuarnce join board of Insurance Services Office, Inc.] ]
#1999–2000: Richard J. Davis (former executive at RR Donnelley and GeoSystems, forerunners of MapQuest) [ [http://wps.prenhall.com/bp_laudon_mis_8/10/2675/684899.cw/index.html Rand McNally Maps Out a Trip into a Digital Future] ]
#2000–2001: Norman E. Wells, Jr. (former Rand McNally COO) [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5253/is_200101/ai_n20182198 Aluminum exec ready to test mettle as Rand McNally CEO.(Norman E. Wells Jr.)(Brief Article) | Crain's Chicago Business | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ]
#2001–2003: Michael Hehir (former head of McGraw-Hill Ventures) [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2001_June_25/ai_75822954 Rand McNally Names Michael Hehir President and Chief Executive Officer | Business Wire | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ]
#2003–present: Robert S. Apatoff (former head of Allstate marketing) [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2003_June_18/ai_103567731 Robert S. Apatoff Named CEO of Rand McNally & Company | Business Wire | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ]


Rand McNally has made many acquisitions over the years to consolidate the crowded map publishing industry or to extend its capabilities in new markets.

*1980 — Transportation Data Management (TDM) — Makers of transportation mileage and routing software that continues to be used for Rand's commercial trucking products. [http://www.randmcnally.com/rmc/company/cmpTimeLine.jsp Rand McNally - Timeline ] ]

*1984 — Denoyer-Geppert — Assets of the school map and globe publisher were assimilated into Rand's education product line.

*1988 — Champion Map — Rand continued to use its facilities in Daytona Beach, Florida, until 2001. All Champion Map products had disappeared, but in 2007 Rand began using the brand on street maps for selected small markets.

*1992 — Nicholstone Holdings — Subsidiary companies (Nicholstone Software Services, Nicholstone Looseleaf, and Nicholstone Bindery) were folded into Rand's Book Services Group, extending its printing and binding businesses and adding capabilities for manufacturing, packaging, and distributing computer software and documentation. [Millin Publishing (17 August 1992) "Skokie, Ill.-based Rand McNally has acquired Nicholstone Holdings Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., parent of Nicholstone Software Services Corp., Nicholstone Looseleaf Cor. and Nicholstone Bindery. (Mergers/Acquisitions/Alliances)". Software Industry Report]

*1993 — Allmaps Canada — Became a wholly-owned subsidiary company, Rand McNally Canada, and was subsequently sold to Canadian Cartographics Corporation in 2008.

*1996 — Gousha — One of Rand McNally's longtime rivals, its 82 employees unexpectedly found their Comfort, Texas, building locked up on the morning of 18 April with a note taped to the door stating that the company had been purchased by Rand McNally and all their jobs had been eliminated. [MacCormack, John (19 April 1996). "Map firm's jobs hit the road". San Antonio Express-News] Gousha's entire product line was discontinued.

*1998 — Thomas Bros. Maps — The prominent Southern California mapmaker best known for its ubiquitous Thomas Guide. [ [http://www.directionsmag.com/press.releases/index.php?duty=Show&id=31 Directions Magazine Press Release] ] Rand McNally continues to brand its street guide products as "The Thomas Guide" in western U.S. markets.

*1999 — King of the Road — Regional map publisher and distributor based in the Pacific Northwest, which had a previous partnership with Thomas Bros. [ [http://www.directionsmag.com/press.releases/index.php?duty=Show&id=530 Directions Magazine Press Release] ] King of the Road titles are no longer available.

*2004 — Perly's — Maker of street maps for Toronto, Ontario and the surrounding areas. Was sold off as part of Rand McNally Canada in 2008. [ [http://www.cccmaps.com/aboutperlys.aspx About Perly's Maps] ]

Humor and trivia

*The company has always been named "Rand McNally," but it has been jocularly referred to as "Rand and McNally," as in the opening to O. Henry's story, "A Municipal Report": "...it is a rash one who will lay his finger on the map and say: 'In this town there can be no romance—what could happen here?' Yes, it is a bold and a rash deed to challenge in one sentence history, romance, and Rand and McNally."

*In an episode of "The Simpsons", Bart vs. Australia, the "Rand McNally" logo on the globe was mistaken by Bart for a continent named Rand McNally; Lisa mocks him saying "In fact, in Rand McNally, people wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people."

*In an episode of ALF, Willie finds a map in Alf's spaceship, entitled "Rand McNally Map to Space".

*Bing Crosby used to tell of a fishing spot so secret that Rand would not tell McNally.

*Jason Mraz has a song titled "Dream Life Of Rand McNally" which can be heard on the album Live at Java Joe's as well as on fan traded audience recordings. It tells the story of a man who gets into trouble all over the world and draws maps to, "remember never to go back to that place again."

*One of the drummers for American punk rock band The Dils called himself Rand McNally

ee also

*Ranally city rating system


*"Mapping A Life's Journey: The Legacy of Andrew McNally III" by [http://biogwriter.com Janice A. Petterchak] , privately printed by Rand McNally, 1995. Library of Congress 95-068047
* Online digitized versions of Rand, McNally & Co's 1879 " [http://davidrumsey.com/northamericanatlases.html Business Atlas] " and 1897 " [http://davidrumsey.com/worldatlases.html Indexed Atlas of the World] " at [http://davidrumsey.com/index.html DavidRumsey.com] .

External links

* [http://www.randmcnally.com Rand McNally]
* [http://ontheroad.randmcnally.com On The Road, Rand McNally's travel blog]
* [http://windermerebooks.org Windermere Books]

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