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Chicago before the Great Fire

41. [MAP]. BLANCHARD, Rufus. Guide Map of Chicago. Published by Rufus Blanchard, 146 Lake St. Chicago. 1869. Chicago, 1869. Lithograph map on bank note paper, full original hand coloring to indicate wards. Neat line to neat line: 53.5 x 42 cm. Folded into pocket covers (14.2 x 10 cm), original brown cloth, Guide Map of Chicago lettered in gilt on upper cover, both covers blind-embossed. Spinal extremities of pocket covers neatly touched up. Upper pale yellow paste down slightly stained from removal of material, gutter neatly reinforced with matching yellow paper. Map very fine. Preserved in dark green cloth folding box.

     This is an early, rare, ante-fire version of Blanchard’s frequently published, revised, and borrowed street map of Chicago, depicting Chicago two years before the Great Fire of 1871. All maps printed in Chicago before the fire or the year of fire are difficult to find. A variant 1869 version listed by Rumsey (4220001) has vignettes at left. Versions of the map are sometimes found with Blanchard’s Map of Chicago and Environs, bound in with Blanchard’s 12-page Citizen's Guide for the City of Chicago. The colors on this map denote Chicago’s wards, the system of political representation in 1837 when the city was incorporated. The gridiron pattern of streets reflects James Thompson’s first survey of the city in 1830. The stockyards are located at the lower portion of the city, outside the wards.

     Blanchard (1821-1904) published the first of his many street-guides to Chicago in 1857 (Graff 325), and they proved popular and useful to both visitors and residents. One of the most active map publishers in Chicago during the later half of the nineteenth century, Blanchard established his Chicago Map Store in 1854 and published high-quality maps until his death. He also issued guides and histories of Chicago, Cook County, and the Northwest Territories. Blanchard's shop, still in existence today, manufactures globes as the George F. Cram Company, named after his nephew and original partner (see item 49 below). For more on Blanchard, see Marcia Selmer's "Rufus Blanchard: Early Chicago Map Publisher" (in Chicago Mapmakers, Michael Conzon, ed., 1984). ($700-1,400)

Sold. Hammer: $700.00; Price Realized: $822.50

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