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We Buy Maps

We are always interested in acquiring antique maps, historical prints, broadsides and other visual Americana.

If you have something you wish to sell, please contact us at or (413) 527-4020. Please be ready to provide one or more photographs (cell phone images are fine) and some basic information:

What is the title of the item?

What are the names of the author/map maker/publisher/printer?

What are the dimensions as measured at the printed border?

Are there any problems with the condition?

Can you share any information about where you acquired it?

Please understand that we cannot buy everything we are offered. Our interest will be determined by factors such as content, appearance, historical importance, rarity and condition.

What we do promise it that we will treat your inquiry with the utmost respect, provide as much information as possible about your item, and, should it come to a negotiation, make the most generous offer we can. Should your item not be a good “fit” for us, we will do our best to advise you on other options.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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”Damier Geographique Les Allies” published 1916 by Saussine

The ” Damier Geographique Les Allies ” is a visually striking and very rare 1916 adaptation of checkers to European geopolitics during the First World War.

The game’s title translates to Geographical Checkerboard of the Allies [:] New Game of War. According to one source, it is an adaptation of a game “created at the end of the XIXth century, at the time of the Franco-Russian alliance, and patented by A. Horrnn, according to a catalog of a sale Lombrail-Teucquam.” If so, the firm of Saussine updated it to reflect the geopolitics of the First World War, pitting the Allies, with their flags arrayed at upper left, against the Central Powers (flags at lower right).

The board consists of a large map of Europe rendered as an irregular, multicolored checkerboard, with the flags of the Allies arrayed at upper left and those of the Central Powers at lower right. Below the playing area area several columns of instructions, and at the bottom are several rows of circular symbols representing the various warring countries and designed to be cut out and used as playing pieces. The basic flow of the game is summarized on the BoardGameGeek web site, though clearly some details have been omitted (A full translation of the rules into English is provided at the end of this listing.)

“2 teams of 2 players compete on a map of Europe that is overlaid with a checkerboard pattern. Each team has an equal number of pawns that represent armies. One team represents Germany and the Austrian Empire. The other team represents France, the UK, Russia and their allies.

“The board is divided in a western and an eastern battle zone. At the beginning of the game, one player of each team plays in each zone. In the western zone, each player has 36 pieces. In the eastern zone each player has 24 pieces. The battles are played simultaneously, but separately (pawns cannot move from one battle zone to the other). When there is a victor in one zone, his remaining pieces go to his ally in the other zone.

“The movement rules are those of the game of checkers. Each players moves in turn. Armies move one space diagonally and capture by jumping over an enemy pawn. Each country has one or two squares that are marked as fortresses. Armies promote to ‘generals’ when they can occupy an enemey[sic] fortress. A general moves as a king in checkers.

“A battle in a zone is won by capturing all enemy pieces in that zone. The team that wins in both zones, or wins in one and draws in the other is the winner of the game.”

The game was published by the firm of Leon Saussine,

“creator and producer of a wide variety of games including race games, strategy games, puzzles, card games, questions and answer games, games of skill and shooting, and shadow theatre. He exhibited at the world fair in 1878 as an educational and parlour games publisher. The company continued after his death in 1896 into the early 1900’s run by his widow and then his sons.” (

The catalog of the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BNF) dates the game to 1916.

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1942 U.S. Army ”Maps Are Weapons” poster

A punchy ” Maps Are Weapons ” poster touting the importance of the work of the U.S. Army’s Map-Chart Division during the Second World War.

Attractively printed in black, blue and red, the poster features a central outline map of the Western Hemisphere. Superimposed on the map are American planes flying East-West along the Equator and the phrase “MAPS ARE WEAPONS” (In a nice touch, both the planes and the text cast faint shadows on the map, giving the image a certain amount of depth.) Running around its perimeter of the map is “GOOD MAPS MAKE GOOD PLANS [:] NO MAPS NO PLANS.” It is not clear where the phrase ” Maps Are Weapons ” originated, though it was the title of a 1941 article on the use of propaganda maps by the Nazi government. (Hans W. Weigert, “ Maps Are Weapons, ” Survey Graphic no. 30 (October 1941), pp. 528-530.)

Though thinly staffed, the Map-Chart Division of the Army Air Forces played a vital role during the Second World War:

“The Map-Chart Division was charged with the preparation, procurement, compilation, reproduction, maintenance and general distribution of aeronautical charts. It was obvious that the small, newly organized division could not recruit a sufficient staff or acquire adequate facilities to meet the needs of the Air Forces; nor was it believed necessary, because several other existing governmental agencies were capable of meeting much of the Air Forces requirements. Therefore, the Map-Chart Division was organized primarily as a control agency within the Air Forces to manage work performed by other agencies operating under contracts with the Air Forces.

“Every available government mapping agency was contracted, and arrangements were made to integrate their resources. Thus … making available to the Air Force the services of approximately 5,000 cartographers and lithographers for the accomplishment of one of the most extensive charting programs up to that time. (“History of the Aeronautical Chart Service”)
Over just four years the Division coordinated the production of a staggering 6000 different charts in six series, each for a different purpose and at a corresponding scale: 1) World Planning, 1:5,000,000 scale; (2) World Weather Charts, 1:5,000,000; (3) World Long Range Navigation, 1:3,000,000; (4) World Aeronautical Pilotage Charts, 1:1,000,000 and 1:500,000; (5) Approach Charts of Strategic Areas, 1:250,000; and (6) large-scale Target Charts of large scale. It also produced special-purpose items such as escape-and-evasion maps for downed pilots.

I have found almost nothing on artist William S. Stanley. The Library of Congress holds “6 drawings : watercolor on board” by him, somehow related to the work of the Map-Chart Division, but their content is not clear. A search in OCLC for the years 1940-1950 yields no publications under his name.

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1859 Franklin Leavitt pictorial map of the White Mountains

A wonderful 1859 pictorial map of the White Mountains from the famed series by White Mountain “character” Franklin Leavitt.

By the mid-19th century the transmission of the Romantic ethos across the Atlantic, the rise of a middle class with disposable income, and the development of rail links with coastal cities transformed the White Mountains into a major destination for artists and tourists. Over three decades Franklin Leavitt, a Lancaster, New Hampshire contractor, guide, would-be poet, and all-around “character” produced six charming maps to cater to the visitors flooding the region. All bear important stylistic similarities that render them engaging examples of folk cartography, including a lack of consistent scale or orientation, the pictorial depiction of local landmarks and history, and an emphasis on Leavitt’s own exploits. They also have a strikingly “persuasive” character, teasing the viewer with images of the many adventures and perils offered by the region, while comforting them that at the end of the day they could always retire to one of its many well-appointed hotels.

Offered here is Leavitt’s third map, engraved on wood by Samuel Brown and electrotyped by Dilligham and Bragg in Boston. It depicts the region from Lake “Winnipisiogee” in the south to Stark and Guild hall in the north, and from eastern Vermont all the way over to Conway. The central image of the White mountains in profile “as seen from the south east side” is complemented by detailed views of dozens of residences and hotels, vignettes of historical and legendary events, four corner views of well-known waterfalls, and a small inset “Map Showing Lines of Grand Trunk Railway of Canadas and United States.” The vignettes include foul-weather mishaps on Mt. Washington, the famed rock fall that killed the Willey family, “Old Crawford” dispatching a bear, and Leavitt himself being lowered “down the side of Mt. Willard, to go into the Devils Den.” Though crude in execution and unburdened by any commitment to cartographic accuracy, the detailed depiction of the roads, railways and many hotels and resorts would have made it reasonably helpful to casual visitors and desirable as a souvenir… but useless or even dangerous to anyone using it as a guide to the back country.

Printed on very thin paper, the map was originally folded, tipped into wraps and sold to tourists for dollar. According to Tatham, 480 were printed in 1859, the same number in 1860, and “doubtless” more thereafter. Tatham also claims this is “the most commonly encountered” of any of the Franklin Leavitt maps; however, while this may have been true when he wrote in 1991, it is certainly not true today: I have handled perhaps ten of Leavitt’s maps over 15 years, and this is the first of the 1859 edition to pass through my hands.

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An unrecorded 1897 Klondike Gold Rush promotional map

A striking and unrecorded 1897 map of Alaska, issued by an eastern railroad attempting to cash in on gold fever at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. Owned in partnership with James Arsenault & Company.

The map embraces Alaska, the westernmost portion of the North West Territory (including what would become Yukon Territory the following year), Northwestern British Columbia, and the vicinities of Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. The gold field region along the Alaska-Canada border is identified in bold red letters, as is the Klondike region. At the center of the Klondike Region lies the Klondike River and various tributaries with such evocative names as “All Gold Ck.,” “Too-Much-Gold Cr.,” and “Bonanza Cr.”

Three steam-boat routes from Seattle are shown: two leading to Dyea and Skaguay, connecting with trails to Dawson City (1437 miles in total); and another more circuitous route from Seattle to Dutch Harbor (on the Alaskan Peninsula), through to St. Michael’s Island, near the mouth of the Yukon River. The route then follows the river all the way to the Klondike (a total of 4,770 miles). The Northern Pacific Railroad is shown leading north from Portland to Tacoma, Seattle, and Vancouver, extending as a “proposed railway” through Ft. Selkirk to the Klondike Region, then running due west to Cape Prince of Wales on the Bering Strait.

Text below the map indicates that it was “Carefully Prepared From United States Government Maps” and is “Presented by the Passenger Department of the Popular Nickel Plate.” Three insets feature the stylized Nickel Plate emblem, depicting an oncoming locomotive with a train-route map situated above it, including its various stops. The New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad, commonly referred to as the Nickel Plate Road, extended from Boston and New York to Chicago. Those headed to the Klondike on the Nickel Plate would have proceeded via a connecting line from Chicago to the Northern Pacific Railroad, then on to Seattle.

Also below the map is a “Statistical Information” section opening with the following remark: “A few months ago the name Klondike was unknown; now it is a household word…it stands for the most sensational discovery of GOLD of recent times, perhaps for all time.” The text covers various routes to Alaska and the Klondike region, detailing steamer routes and trails, and incorporating a table of distances. The trails are given particularly detailed attention. Other subjects covered include outfits, packing, climate, fares (to and from the various points of departure), and trading companies, which have posts at the main points in the mining regions. In closing, it is noted that “new transportation lines and commercial companies are currently being organized and put into operation” that will be implemented by the 1st of January, 1898—provided there is still a strong popular demand.

In sum, a fine and apparently unrecorded Klondike Gold Rush-era promotional, featuring interesting text, striking design, and vibrant chromolithographic color.

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A landmark 1826 map New England

A most important 1826 map of New England by Nathan Hale, being the first significant large-scale map of New England issued in the 19th century. As such, it is best viewed as the successor to Thomas Jefferys’ Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England (1755), the great regional map of the 18th century.

Hale’s map is extremely informative, particularly regarding the human geography of the region. It shows state, county and township boundaries; major topographical features; and significant cultural and economic resources such as canals, roads, colleges, churches and manufacturing centers (Particularly dear to this writer’s heart is a lead mine identified in little Southampton, Mass.) The political information appears to be relatively up to date; in Massachusetts, for example, one finds Hanson (est. 1820); North Bridgewater, now known as Brockton (est. 1821); and East Bridgewater (est. 1823).

Offered here is an example of the 1826 first issue of the map. It must have met with substantial success, as it was reissued in 1827, 1830, 1834, 1835, 1849 and 1853. At least one of these later states included substantial revisions: the 1849 edition includes the note “Corr. By the addition of the railroads, new towns, & other public improvements, to Mar. 1849.”

The verso bears the ownership inscription of “Geo. Bliss Jn. Springfield Mass.” This is likely the businessman and politican George Bliss (1793-1873), who trained as a lawyer before serving terms in both the Massachusetts Senate and House and Senate, serving as President of the former in 1835 and Speaker of the latter in 1853. He also served for some time as President of the Western Railroad between Albany and Worcester and brought that project to a successful completion. He likely knew mapmaker Nathan Hale, who was a prominent figure in Boston and for a time a railroad executive.

Nathan Hale
Hale (1784-1863) was born in Westhampton, Mass. but spent much of his life in Boston. Something of a polymath, his career spanned the teaching of mathematics, private law practice, journalism (as founder of the Daily Advertiser), book publisher and civil engineering. He also helped establish the Boston and Worcester Rail Road and was its first President from 1831 to 1849. His father Enoch Hale was a brother of the famous martyred patriot, and his mother was Octavia Throop, so there is likely a family connection with the map’s engraver J. V. N. Throop. This writer knows of no other cartographic productions by Hale.

The map does not itself reveal Hale’s sources for his map of New England, but an ad in the September 11, 1826 Boston Commercial Gazette describes it as “compiled from a careful comparison of all the published maps and charts, and all the surveys, drawings, and other documents which would aid the undertaking, known to the compiler, in the public offices, or in the hands of individuals, and from personal examinations of many parts of the country.” One wonders, however, about these “personal examinations.” Hale was a busy man with many professional commitments, and it is hard to imagine him finding the time to conduct much in the way of fieldwork. Though the map itself is silent on the topic, it is conceivable that he commissioned surveyors to fill in occasional gaps in existing maps… though this would have quickly become prohibitively expensive.

Hale likely took as his starting point the numerous important official state maps published in the 1790s-1810s—Whitelaw’s map of Vermont (1796 and later), Osgood Carleton’s maps of Maine and Massachusetts (1801), Warren and Gillette’s of Connecticut (1811), and Carrigain’s of New Hampshire (1816). Assuming this is correct, he must have taken great pains to harmonize state boundaries and to ensure the map was updated. For example, as mentioned above he introduced a number of newly-incorporated Massachusetts towns, and a comparison with the Carrigain map shows substantial changes to town boundaries and names, the addition of new towns and elimination of gores, and the addition of numerous mountains, railroads &c.

In all, a very nice example of a most important map of New England.

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Superb map of the Boston area by John G. Hales, 1820

A most important 1819 map of the Greater Boston area by John G. Hales. Though little known today, Hales deserves a place among the first rank of early American surveyors and map makers.

Hales’ wonderful map offers depicts the region encompassing Beverly to the northeast, Scituate to the southeast, and Natick, East Sudbury &c. to the west—over 720 square miles in all. The relatively large scale of 1 inch to the mile enables Hales to provide great detail for both the natural and human geography, including topographical features (hills with their elevations, marshes, waterways and woodlands); town and country boundaries; the transportation network (roads, turnpikes and the Middlesex Canal); and the locations of meeting houses, churches, manufacturing establishments, and even individual private dwellings, with the homes of eminent persons given particular notice.

The map must have met with commercial success—and deservedly so—as I know of examples dated 1819, 1820 (2 states, viewable here and here), 1829, and 1833. should bear the Hales imprint and publication date in the lower margin, but on this example this has been obscured by the selvage. It appears however to match the earlier of the two 1820 states held by the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, the “tell” being the lack of a long note about the Charles River at its junction with the Neponset in Dedham.

This map was for its time and place a sophisticated piece of work: an advertisement in the June 7, 1819 Boston Gazette tells us that “every Road and River is regularly laid down from lineal Measure, on a Scale of one mile to the inch ; the angles mathematically protracted ; the summit height of the principal Hills ascertained from Trigonometrical observation…” (p. 4). Previous maps of New England and its parts (with the exception of the charts in The Atlantic Neptune) had been based on metes and bounds surveys, in which a compass and measuring chain or rod were used to run a continuous line along the boundary or other line to be surveyed, with details filled in by observation. Such surveys required little instrumentation or training, but were notoriously liable to inaccuracies introduced by human error, irregularities of terrain, &c.

Hales made a great leap forward by conducting a “trigonometric survey” (or “triangulation”) of the Boston area, which entailed more instrumentation and at least some mathematics, but in return offered far greater accuracy. To this writer’s knowledge he was the first American to attempt a systematic survey of this sort over a large area, though it had been standard practice among European surveyors for a century.

Though Boston proper had been well mapped over the years—including a very large map by Hales himself issued in 1814—this is the first large-scale map of the greater Boston area. The only earlier maps of the area that remotely approached Hales accomplishment were the charts of Boston Bay and Boston Harbor issued in des Barres’ Atlantic Neptune in the 1770s. The Neptune charts were in some places arguably more detailed than Hales’ map and likely employed superior instruments and methods. However, their coverage extended in most places only a few miles inland, just a fraction of that achieved by Hales.

John G. Hales
Relative to the significance of his cartographic output, there is surprisingly little secondary information available on Hales’ life and work. The most commonly cited biography is scandalously brief and dismissive:

“[Hales] appears in the Boston Directory for the first time in 1818, though he published his map of Boston in 1814. From one of his few surviving contemporaries it is learned that he was an Englishman, duly educated in his employment, that he was a rapid, possibly a hasty, workman, and that his business career was not always satisfactory. He died in Boston of apoplexy, May 20th, 1832, aged 47 years, and was buried in St. Matthews Church (Episcopal) in South Boston.” (John G. Hales, Maps of the Street Lines of Boston, (William Whitemore, ed.), 1894)
Based on an inspection of many Hales maps, contemporary newspapers, government records and other documents, a far more interesting and substantial story can be assembled.

Hales began his career as a civil engineer in England in the late 18th or early 19th century. From his Survey of Boston and Vicinity, a small volume published in 1821, we learn that during these early years he developed expertise in the enclosure of salt marshes to create arable land: “in the years 1803 and 1806 the author of this [work] was engaged as engineer in the enclosure of a similar tract [i.e., similar to areas around Boston] in the county of Somerset, England, which was enclosed and divided among the proprietors under the authority of parliament.” (p. 141)

Hales immigrated to America around 1810 and probably spent time in Nova Scotia before settling in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1812 and 1813 he produced a number of estate plans for residents of that town, and in 1813 he published a Map of the Compact Part of the Town of Portsmouth and A Map of Upper and Lower Canada, with Part of the United States Adjoining; Comprising the Present Seat of War. He moved to Boston soon thereafter, and in 1814 he published his monumental Map of Boston in the State of Massachusetts, the largest-scale map of the city to date. Both the Portsmouth and Boston maps were landmarks, being by far the largest-scale and most detailed maps of those towns yet issued, showing property lines and building footprints and even employing varied shading to differentiate the building materials used. Hales also appears to have contributed to Philip Carrigain’s official map of New Hampshire (1816), as a June 18, 1818 entry in the Journal of the state’s House of Representatives records compensation to Hales as a line item in a disbursement made to Carrigain.

Some time thereafter, Hales began the detailed surveys on which our Map of Boston and Vicinity (1819) is based. Then in mid-1819 he was commissioned by the Selectmen of Boston to conduct “an accurate survey of all the public streets, squares and alleys,” which was executed at a scale vastly exceeding his earlier work. The manuscripts of this survey were only published in 1894 in Maps of the Street-Lines of Boston.

A new map of Massachusetts?
Apparently encouraged by the success of the Map of Boston and Vicinity, Hales decided to extend his reach and produce a new map of the state, with the hope of supplanting Osgood Carleton’s highly imperfect Map of Massachusetts Proper (1801). An announcement of his plans, describing a map very similar in format and content to the Map of Boston and Vicinity, appeared in the June 26, 1820 Boston Gazette. His petition to the state legislature for financial support some time in 1820 or early 1821 was received sympathetically:

“…on examining the plans submitted for their inspection by the petitioner, they [the legislative committee appointed to evaluate Hales’ petition] find that he has surveyed and laid down about sixty towns in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex, that they are satisfied he possesses a thorough knowledge of his profession as a surveyor and draughtsman, and that the portion of the map he has already completed is very satisfactory and far superior to any plans of the same portion of our territory before executed.

“They further report that…. An improved Map of the State of Massachusetts, is highly necessary for many purposes of wise Legislation…” (committee report, as reprinted in the Columbian Centinel for March 7, 1821, p. 1)
Sympathy did not translate to backing, however, and due to fiscal constraints—the country was in the middle of a financial crisis that had begun with the Panic of 1819—the legislature chose not to support the project.

This is perhaps just as well, for in 1823 Hales was convicted of forgery and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, though it is unclear how much time he served. (Rhode Island American, July 25, 1823, p. 4) One way or another, however, he found a way to publish The County of Essex from Actual Survey (1825), which in scale and content is a natural complement to the Map of Boston and Its Vicinity offered here. One imagines that the Essex County map was an attempt to salvage something from the ashes of the Massachusetts mapping project.

In 1829 and 1830 the Massachusetts legislature passed enabling legislation to produce a new state map to replace the Carleton map of 1801. This was to be essentially a three-stage process: First, each town was required to conduct a survey of its territory and submit a plan to the Secretary of State. Second, a statewide “trigonometric” survey would be conducted, in which astronomical observations and hyper-rigorous methods were used to establish a baseline from which could be developed a network of some 500 triangulated reference points across the state. (In its use of geodetic controls, this model should be seen as a much more advanced version of the “trigonometric” methods used by Hales more than a decade earlier.) Finally, the local data in the individual town plans would be reconciled with the trigonometric survey to produce the official state map.

Despite his demonstrated experience, Hales was not tapped for the trigonometric survey (His rap sheet may have been an obstacle.) Presumably based on the strength of his earlier work, however, in 1830-31 at least 45 towns commissioned surveys from him, including for example Boston, Cambridge, Concord, Dedham, Lexington, and even Northampton and Wellfleet. Today his original manuscript maps from these surveys reside at the Massachusetts State Archives. In addition, some were printed by Pendleton’s Lithography in Boston and are held in major institutional collections as well as appearing occasionally on the private market.

Hales died in May of 1832 at the age of 47—of “apoplexy,” according to Whitemore. He left behind him a body of work impressive for both its extent and its quality, though one wonders what else he might have achieved if his life had not been cut short. Nevertheless, for both his prolific output and his championing of advanced mapping methods he deserves to be placed among the first rank of New England mapmakers.

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The worldwide AT&T radio telephone network as of 1946

An unrecorded 1946 map depicting American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) plans for the expansion of its international radio telephone system.

Trans-oceanic telecommunications date back to the laying of the First Atlantic Cable in 1866. This was for decades restricted to telegraph service; the first trans-oceanic voice transmission was only accomplished in 1915, following Bell Labs development of the radio telephone. The breakthrough was not commercialized until 1927, when American Telephone and Telegraph initiated the first radio-telephone service between New York and London. The system enabled but one call at a time, at a whopping $75 for the first three minutes. Further reflecting the great expense of setting up such systems, trans-Pacific service with Japan did not follow until 1934, albeit at a somewhat lower initial cost of $39 for the first three minutes. Expense aside, the system was imperfect, plagued in particular by disruption from atmospheric and solar phenomena. It nevertheless endured until gradually replaced by trans-oceanic telephone cables in the 1950s and satellite service in the 1960s.

This world map depicts the range of American Telephone and Telegraph international radio telephone service as of February 1, 1946. This includes connections from facilities in New York, Miami, San Francisco and Seattle with dozens of cities worldwide, with existing service indicated by solid lines and projected connections by dashed lines. The list of cities served includes both the obvious—London, Moscow, Tokyo, &c.—but also less-obvious sites such as Adak (Alaska) and Guam, where the American military had important bases. The system growing rapidly in the post-war world: According to a 1946 FCC report,

“New radiotelephone circuits were established to connect the United States with Barbados, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the Philippine Islands. There was no direct radiotelephone circuit with Barbados, Egypt, New Zealand, and Norway prior to the war. New circuits were authorized between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands West Indies, and between the United States and Austria. At the close of the fiscal year, there were 9 licensed radiotelephone stations.” (Federal Communications Commission, Twelfth Annual Report: Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1946, p. 23)
The map appears extremely rare, as I find no impressions recorded in OCLC, Google or any other source.

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Rare map detailing the “Impolicy of Slavery" (1825)

A rare persuasive map setting out an economic argument against slavery in the British Empire.

This simple map depicts the world on the Mercator projection, with land masses between 30 degrees north and south latitude in wash color. PJ Mode provides some background about map maker James Cropper and explains that the apparently simplicity conceals a somewhat subtle argument:

“This polemic map argues that import prohibitions and high duties on sugar were artificially inflating prices and inhibiting manufacturing in England. It was published by J. Cross, but the anonymous author of the map was soon identified as James Cropper, a successful and wealthy Quaker merchant, philanthropist and disciple of Adam Smith. Cropper was a major force in the anti-slavery movement and believed that eliminating tariff protections would lead to the end of slave labour in the West Indies.

“…. As explained in the legend, the tiny red dots in the Western Hemisphere represent Jamaica and the other West Indian sugar-producing colonies of England. While sugar may be grown in vast reaches of the world 30 degrees north and south of the equator—including India, shown in pink as “Hindostan”—import of that sugar [i.e., sugar produced outside the West Indies] into Britain was effectively barred, either directly or by prohibitive duties. Because sugar was an important commodity not only for food but for certain chemical processes, Cross argued that these restrictions, “imposed for the exclusive protection and support of slave cultivation in the West Indian colonies,” were constraining “British manufactures, to an extent that would give employment to all the destitute population of Ireland and Great Britain.” Apart from the employment opportunities lost, Cross put the cost of the trade barriers at 1.2 million pounds annually.

“Cropper had interests in East Indian sugar and therefore stood to benefit from the reduction of tariffs, which colored his role in the abolition movement. Nevertheless, Cropper “may be one of those occasional cases in which conduct is not primarily influenced by self interest.” (Major 2012, 306, quoting L. J. Ragatz; see Davis 1961) He we went on to play an important part in passage of the cornerstone Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 and in uniting the efforts of British and American anti-slavery organizations. “In Cropper’s mind the intensity of Quaker Quietism had fused with the economic optimism of Adam Smith. Anti-slavery confirmed this union, endowing laissez-faire with an immediate moral and spiritual purpose, and enriching his faith in the inevitability of human progress.” (David 173)” (PJ Mode, Persuasive Cartography, The PJ Mode Collection, #1039.01. See here for references cited in PJ’s text.)

Coming as it did from an arch-capitalist, Cropper’s economic argument seems to have been well received, as the map was republished a number of times. A much cruder wood-engraved version of this map had illustrated an article on the “ Impolicy of Slavery ” in the Liverpool Mercury for October 31, 1823, followed by a reprint in The Kaleidoscope; Or, Literary and Scientific Mirror for June 29, 1824. The present map can be dated to 1825 or a bit later due to the presence of a “J. Whatman” watermark. Some may have been issued separately, but other impressions were folded and bound in to the Appendix of the Second Report of the Committee of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Dominions (London, 1825). Yet others were included in an untitled album of anti-slavery material published in 1827-28 by the Female Society, for Birmingham, West-Bromwich, Wednesbury, Walsall, and Their Respective Neighbourhoods, for the Relief of British Negro Slaves.

The abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire had occurred in 1807. However, it would not be until 1833 that slave ownership itself was outlawed.

The map is very rare: I find only examples at only six institutions and know of but one other having appeared on the market in recent years, offered by Crouch Rare Books in 2013.

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Rare Confederate map of Kentucky and Tennessee, 1861

An extremely rare Confederate imprint map of Kentucky and Tennessee published in Richmond by West & Johnston.

This densely-informative map depicts towns; roads, railroads and canals; and major topographical features, and is adorned with inset views of the State House at Nashville, Memphis Navy Yard and Mammoth Cave. The map is clearly derived from one in Johnson’s Family Atlas of 1860, but there are numerous differences including additions, deletions, changes of typeface and variation in the sizes of the inset views. These raise interesting questions about how this map came to be produced in Richmond at the outset of the war.

Annotations in pencil to the title block and the verso attribute ownership to Matthew Clay, Jr. of Columbus, Mississippi who served in the Civil War as a member of the 6th Mississippi Cavalry. The 6th was mustered into service in January 1864, fought in the battle of Harrisburg in July, and surrendered to Union forces in May the following year.

I find no record of the map having appeared on the antiquarian market and only four impressions in institutional collections (Huntington Library and the Universities of Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia).

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