New Book | The Social Life of Maps in America, 1750–1860

Posted in books by Editor on November 22, 2017

From UNC Press:

Martin Brückner, The Social Life of Maps in America, 1750–1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017), 384 pages, ISBN: 978 14696 32605, $50.

In the age of MapQuest and GPS, we take cartographic literacy for granted. We should not; the ability to find meaning in maps is the fruit of a long process of exposure and instruction. A ‘carto-coded’ America—a nation in which maps are pervasive and meaningful—had to be created. The Social Life of Maps tracks American cartography’s spectacular rise to its unprecedented cultural influence. Between 1750 and 1860, maps did more than communicate geographic information and political pretensions. They became affordable and intelligible to ordinary American men and women looking for their place in the world. School maps quickly entered classrooms, where they shaped reading and other cognitive exercises; giant maps drew attention in public spaces; miniature maps helped Americans chart personal experiences. In short, maps were uniquely social objects whose visual and material expressions affected commercial practices and graphic arts, theatrical performances and the communication of emotions. This lavishly illustrated study follows popular maps from their points of creation to shops and galleries, schoolrooms and coat pockets, parlors, and bookbindings. Between the decades leading up to the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, early Americans bonded with maps; Martin Bruckner’s comprehensive history of quotidian cartographic encounters is the first to show us how.

Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

Martin Brückner is professor of English and material culture studies at the University of Delaware.


List of Illustrations

Preface: Introducing the Social Life of American Maps

Part One: American Mapworks
1  The Artisanal Map, 1750–1815: Workshops and Shopkeepers from Lewis Evans to Samuel Lewis
2  The Manufactured Map, 1790–1830: Centralization and Integration from Mathew Carey to John Melish
3  The Industrial Map, 1820–1860: Innovation and Diversification from Henry S. Tanner to S. Augustus Mitchell

Part Two: The Spectacle of Maps
4  Public Giants: Re-Staging Power and the Theatricality of Maps
5  Private Properties: Ornamental Maps and the Decorum of Interiority
6  Self-Made Spectacles: The Look of Maps and Cartographic Visualcy

Part Three: The Mobilization of Maps
7  Looking Small and Made To Go: The Atlas and the Rise of the Cartographic Vade Mecum
8  Cartographic Transfers: Education and the Art of Mappery

Epilogue: Cartoral Arts and Material Metaphors

Appendix 1: Price Table—Maps and Their Sales Prices, 1755–1860
Appendix 2: Inventory of “John Melish Geographer and Map Publisher”

New Book | The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America

Posted in books by Editor on November 22, 2017

From Harvard UP:

S. Max Edelson, The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017), 480 pages, ISBN 978 067497 2117, $35.

After the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War in 1763, British America stretched from Hudson Bay to the Florida Keys, from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River, and across new islands in the West Indies. To better rule these vast dominions, Britain set out to map its new territories with unprecedented rigor and precision. The New Map of Empire pictures the contested geography of the British Atlantic world and offers new explanations of the causes and consequences of Britain’s imperial ambitions in the generation before the American Revolution. Under orders from King George III to reform the colonies, the Board of Trade dispatched surveyors to map far-flung frontiers, chart coastlines in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, sound Florida’s rivers, parcel tropical islands into plantation tracts, and mark boundaries with indigenous nations across the interior. Scaled to military standards of resolution, the maps they produced sought to capture the essential attributes of colonial spaces—their natural capacities for agriculture, navigation, and commerce—and give British officials the knowledge they needed to take command over colonization from across the Atlantic.

Britain’s vision of imperial control threatened to displace colonists as meaningful agents of empire and diminished what they viewed as their greatest historical accomplishment: settling the New World. As London’s mapmakers published these images of order in breathtaking American atlases, Continental and British forces were already engaged in a violent contest over who would control the real spaces they represented.

Accompanying Edelson’s innovative spatial history of British America are online visualizations of more than 250 original maps, plans, and charts.

S. Max Edelson is Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia.


List of Maps*
A Note on the Maps

1  A Vision for American Empire
2  Commanding Space after the Seven Years’ War
3  Securing the Maritime Northeast
4  Marking the Indian Boundary
5  Charting Contested Caribbean Space
6  Defining East Florida
7  Atlases of Empire

Map Bibliography

* Maps
• Detail from Emanuel Bowen, An Accurate Map of North America (London, 1763). From The National Archives of the UK, Open Government License v3.0
• Detail from Daniel Paterson, “Cantonment of His Majesty’s Forces in N. America,” 1767, Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, Washington, DC, gm72002042
• Detail from [Samuel Holland] and John Lewis, “A Plan of the Island of St. John in the Province of Nova Scotia,” 1765, The National Archives of the UK, Open Government License v3.0
• Detail from John Pickens, “Boundary Line between the Province of South Carolina and the Cherokee Indian Country,” 1766, The National Archives of the UK, Open Government License v3.0
• Detail from M. Pinel, Plan de l’Isle de la Grenade ([London], 1763). From Baldwin Collection, Toronto Public Library, 912.72984 J24
• Detail from William De Brahm, “Special Chart of Cape Florida” [1765], Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, Washington, DC, 75693274
• Detail from J. F. W. Des Barres, [Chart of Hell Gate, Oyster Bay and Huntington Bay,] 1778, in The Atlantic Neptune (London, 1777–[1781]). Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, Richard H. Brown Revolutionary War Map Collection

%d bloggers like this: