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October 26, 2007

A North Carolina Treasure

126. [MAP]. SHAFFER, A. W[ebster]. Shaffer’s Township Map of North Carolina A. W. Shaffer, C.E. Raleigh, N.C. 1886. Projection, Polyconic. Scale: 10 miles to 1 inch. Second Edition. Carefully Revised and Corrected, Thos. C. Harris, Del. Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1885, by A. W. Shaffer in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. All rights reserved. Julius Bien & Co. Photo Lith [text at top left, title and 23 lines of text] The Cherokee Indians [profile within border at lower left, neat line to neat line: 18.2 x 27.4 cm] North Carolina Elevation. Raleigh, 1886. Lithograph map on two separate sheets of bank note paper, each sheet measures 77 x 66 cm; neat line to neat line, overall for the two sheets: 69.6 x 130 cm, original outline color (North Carolina counties in bright rose, state borders and counties in adjoining states in slate blue). Folded into pocket covers (20 x 12.4 cm), original dark brown cloth, blind embossed on both covers, lettering in gilt on upper cover: Shaffer’s New Township Map of North Carolina, printed advertisement leaf affixed to verso of upper cover: A. W. Shaffer’s New Maps of North Carolina 1886, printed testimonial leaf affixed to verso of lower cover: Unsolicited Testimonials.... The first Township map of North Carolina ever issued. Officially adopted in the graded Schools of Raleigh, and more than one hundred sold in the city, one-third of which are $15 maps. Address, A. W. Shaffer, Raleigh, N.C. A few abrasions and stains to covers, the map itself pristine save for a few short clean splits at folds (no losses) and some age-toning along a few folds. Modern pencil note along edge of ad leaf at front: Kenneth F. Neighbors 4-14-1959 gift of Nancy Taylor.

            “Second edition, Carefully Revised and Corrected.” (The first edition appeared the same year, a larger version of which is listed by the Archives of North Carolina’s on-line exhibit “Treasures in the North Carolina Archives”: Apparently, this is the first township map of North Carolina. The concept of townships in North Carolina was a short-lived phenomenon imposed by carpetbaggers during Reconstruction in 1868, but undone by the constitutional convention of 1875. “Separate from cities, towns, and counties, townships were to operate at local levels under officials charged with levying and collecting taxes and having responsibilities for roads and bridges” (“Treasures in the North Carolina Archives,” see above). By the time this map was published the townships had little authority except over roads, although they survived for a time as a geographical convenience with relation to voting, public school administration, etc.

            This large, complicated, and extremely detailed depiction of North Carolina includes roads, railroads, rivers, streams, mountains, large towns, cities, villages, and very small settlements, many of which have since vanished and others of which have grown tremendously. Some ongoing geological controversies are also evident on the map. Clingman’s Dome, for example, is shown on the table as the highest point in the state, although that honor would eventually fall to Mount Mitchell. As might be expected, the East and Piedmont regions are the most heavily settled, with the western mountains showing the least development and consisting principally of numerous tiny villages spread through the area. Historical information preserved on the map is also significant. Still shown, for example, is the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, which was the last lifeline of the Confederacy during the waning days of the Civil War. The unusual elevation map at lower left shows the relative heights of various towns from sea level to Highlands, which is at 4,000 feet. The highest structure shown is called Mountain House, which is at approximately 5,300 feet. The table shows all the major hills and mountains in the state. The inset text at upper left gives an historical discussion of the Cherokee Removals and indicates that the vague nature of the original Native American boundaries continues to cause surveying and jurisdictional difficulties.

            Shaffer’s 1886 ads at the front offer five of his maps of North Carolina: a huge township wall map (40 x 75 inches, scale: one inch = 7 miles); the same cased or on roller, pocket edition like the present map (one inch = ten miles); miniature version (6 x 16 inches) in two versions, congressional or judicial. Testimonials on back leaf include: “The only map I ever saw that I would not be ashamed to drum for.-Col. Alex B. Andres, Supt. R.& D.R.R.”; “Has more than twice the area and three times the detail of the Kerr map, is vastly better engraved, printed, mounted and colored, and is incontestibly [sic] the best map of North Carolina now extant.-Raleigh Evening Visitor”; etc.

            Little is known of Civil Engineer A. Webster Shaffer, who was an officer in the Union Army serving in a Maryland unit, made a map of Raleigh, served under General O. O. Howard in the Freedmen’s Bureau (1866), and apparently became a U.S. Commissioner in North Carolina, in which capacity he seemed to be serving about the time this map was published. See: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. LXVI, Part III, Chapter LVIII, p. 1039); and Lisa Cardyn, “Sexualized Racism/Gendered Violence: Outraging the Body Politic in the Reconstruction South” in Michigan Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 4. (February, 2002), pp. 741-742. ($4,000-6,000)

Sold. Hammer: $4,000.00; Price Realized: $4,700.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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