The Old Print Gallery is celebrating maps in 2014, with a mini exhibit of antique American maps displayed on our gallery walls. We selected eight maps from our collection, starting with the influential Munster 1588 map Americae sive Noi Orbis Nova Descriptio, and ending with Mitchell’s 1861 Military Map of the United States. Gallery friends are invited to stop by and see “snapshots” of our great country over time, through wars and conflict as well as periods of prodigious exploration and expansion, as told by maps.
This influential woodcut map from Munster’s Cosmographia replaced the earlier and highly speculative Munster map of 1540. Cartographically based on Ortelius’ 1570 map, this map features a typical Ortelian treatment of the western coastline of North America. Place names like Quieriva, Anian, and Tolm are artfully engraved in the Northern continent, along with river ways and mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The map shows an oversized southwestern coastline of South America, sometimes referred to as the “Chilean bulge”. A massive southern continent, Meridies Tierra del Fuego, sits at the bottom of the map.
This map was issued unchanged from 1588 through 1628. A secondary title in German appears above the map, “Die newen Inseln so hinder Hispania Gegen Orient bey dem Landt Indie Gelegen”.
Hondius engraved this map for his first edition of Gerard Mercator’s atlas. It was issued in his atlases until 1630. The enlarged North American continent includes many errors, notably the northeast portion in the current U.S., which is badly distorted, and an oddly protruding Virginia coastline. It does have a more accurate depiction of the southwest coast of South America.
Various scenes which were taken from the earlier volumes of de Bry’s Grand Voyages adorn this map. The inset in the lower left margin is an intriguing Brazilian native scene, illustrating the method used to make a local beverage.
This is a quite decorative and highly desirable map of the Americas. It appeared in Speed’s atlas Prospect of the Most Formed Parts of the World, the first English world atlas, although the copperplates were engraved by Abraham Goos in Amsterdam, the center of the European map trade.
This was the first map published in an atlas that depicted California not as a peninsula, but as an island, a cartographic misconception that endured for nearly 100 years. The map has a fairly accurate rending of the East Coast, especially between Chesapeake Bay and Cape Cod. Many English colonies appear on the map, including Plymouth in the northeast and Iames Citti in Virginia. The northwest coastline is very faint.
Surrounding this map on two sides are images of indigenous peoples found from Greenland to the Straits of Magellan. The figures on the left represent natives from the north, while figures on the right side are southern natives. Eight town views appear on top. Although the map depicts the English presence in North America, surprisingly none of the town views are English colonies. Rather, they show important early views of Havana, St. Domingo, and Rio, among others. An inset map shows Greenland, Baffin’s Bay and Iceland.
This map shows North America as known in the early 18th century, with the English colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, a large Louisiana to the south, and Canada with New France taking up the northern tier. At upper left is a large inset of the Gulf coast from the Mississippi delta to Cap St. Blaise. The map prominently features the Mississippi River and Great Lakes.
This map has an elaborately engraved title cartouche, which depicts an allegorical scene of the Mississippi Bubble, a rather poor investment scheme by John Law to develop French Louisiana. The cherubs floating above the cartouche are shown issuing stock for Law’s trading company, while a female personification of the Mississippi River pours out riches and gold to frenzied buyers on her left. To her right, forlorn investors mourn their losses and stab themselves, while cherubs below blow bubbles, surrounded by worthless stocks.
This is an unusual folio-sized map of the English colonies, shown approximately at the close of the French and Indian War. No cartographer or publisher’s name is given. This scarce and highly detailed map later appeared as a folded insert in History of the War in America printed in 1779 Dublin, and the next year in An Impartial History of the War in America. It was engraved based on John Mitchell’s map of 1755.
The map, meant to acquaint the general reader with the North American theater of the Seven Years War, identifies Indian tribes and forts built by the French.
An early map of the United States, printed soon after the conclusion of the American Revolution. It was published in A New Royal Authentic and Complete System of Universal Geography by Rev. Thomas Bankes. The map shows the first 13 states; it was published prior to admission of Vermont, Kentucky or Tennessee. The map includes a great deal of information on the Great Lakes and Mississippi valley areas. It is also filled with extensive notations on everything from locations and characteristics of Native American tribes (ex: “Tintons- a Wandering Nation”) to land conditions (ex: “Extensive Meadows Full of Buffalos” and “Country Full of Mines”). East and West Florida are shown, as are a large Louisiana and New Mexico.
This unusual map was first issued by Gussefeld / Homann Heirs of Nuremburg in 1784, showing the newly formed United States under the title “Charte über die XIII verinigte Staaten von Nord-America.” The plate was subsequently updated and reissued in 1818 to reflect additional states. Many of the new states are strangely shaped. Virginia is engraved with an almost straight north to south western border, and Kentucky and Ohio are wedge shaped. Indiana and Illinois are placed approximately 100 miles to the west of where they should be. Illinois does not touch Lake Michigan. Mississippi is shown as a territory, despite gaining statehood in December of 1817. A very scarce map.
A scarce separately issued broadside map produced at the beginning of the American Civil War. This map shows the new territories that were made after southern states seceded. As the trans-Mississippi region developed during the 1850s, there was a call to break up the very large territories into smaller ones. However, every newly created territory had an impact on the power struggle in Congress over the issue of slavery, so between 1854, with its Kansas-Nebraska Act, and 1860, no new territories were created. After secession, the northerners in Congress were able to act quickly and create three new territories: a large Dakota Territory, Territory of Nevada, and Colorado Territory- all present on this map.
Another feature of this map is the depiction of a never-existing horizontal border between the free territory of New Mexico and slave territory of Arizona. On August 1 1861, the Confederacy established Arizona Territory, consisting of the southern half of the Union’s New Mexico Territory; the Union still claimed the whole territory. The region was sometimes called Arizona before 1863, despite the fact it was still part of the Territory of New Mexico until 1912.
Two large inset maps show County map of Virginia, and North Carolina and County map of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Smaller inset maps show Hampton Roads, Washington, D.C., Pensacola Bay, Charleston Harbor, New Orleans, Louisiana, Baltimore and Richmond.