Introducing the George Avey Collection by Arizona Highways

These three diner mugs are the first entries in Arizona Highways' George Avey Collection.

We've created three new coffee mugs that celebrate Arizona Highways' history — and (we think) look good on their own, too.

When Arizona Highways premiered in April 1925, it was essentially a trade journal aimed at road engineers and intrepid travelers trying to get from Point A to Point B. Frankly, it wasn’t very interesting. Then, in 1938, Raymond Carlson took over as editor and brought in George Avey as art director.

Early in their alliance, they closed the book on bridge-construction reports and set out to make the magazine a consumer publication, as well as a user’s guide to the state. It was Mr. Avey’s job to make the magazine more visual. To do so, he began working with artists and illustrators such as Maynard Dixon, Bill Maudlin, Ross Santee and Ted DeGrazia. In addition to the fine artists of the West, Mr. Avey reached out to photographers such as Ansel Adams, Esther Henderson, Wayne Davis and Ray Manley. Because there weren’t a lot of professional photographers in the Southwest at the time, stories without photos were illustrated with Mr. Avey’s artwork — vivid watercolors, line drawings and playful “cartoon” maps.

His first map was published in December 1939. About a year later, in our August 1940 issue, we featured Mr. Avey’s now-famous four-panel fold-out map (18 by 24 inches) of the state. “Modern explorers in our land could have no better map than our new Pleasure Map to guide them on their way,” Mr. Carlson wrote. “George Avey, our artist, has piled on a lot of color, listed many points of scenic interest, to get the desired effect.”

That map is now a collector’s item, and it serves as the basis for our George Avey Collection. Our new diner mugs feature Mr. Avey's whimsical illustrations, pulled from the map, of Monument Valley, Tombstone and the Kaibab National Forest. We hope to add more designs to this collection, along with other products based on Mr. Avey's artwork.

You can buy these mugs for $9.99 apiece (or $23.97 for the set) in our online store or at the Arizona Highways Gift Shop (2039 W. Lewis Avenue, Phoenix). Supplies are limited, so get yours while you can!

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