Miniature Pocket Map of Boston in 1832

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376. [MAP]. STIMPSON, Charles (publisher) & [Hazen Morse] (engraver). Plan of the City Boston. Published by Charles Stimpson 1832. [Boston, 1832]. Copper-engraved street map of Boston, original hand coloring (yellow, pale green, and light blue denoting city wards); neat line to neat line: 21.4 x 35.2 cm; overall sheet size: 22.7 x 36.5 cm; folded into original miniature red roan covers (8.2 x 6.8 cm), gilt ruling and lettering on upper cover: Boston. The map has been unfolded (folds not flattened) and loosely affixed to acid-free tan mat board. Very light discoloration at folds. Pocket covers mildly rubbed and with small stain on upper cover. A fine copy. With 1833 signature of Julia E. Lyman (1822-1835), possibly the daughter of Theodore Lyman (DAB). Under glass, in handsome gilt frame.

     A beautiful copy of a diminutive pocket map that was continuously edited and corrected for many years. American Imprints 1832:14858. Boston (Engineering Department), List of Maps of Boston Published between 1600 and 1903 (Boston, 1903), p. 102 (listing editions of Stimpson’s Boston map of similar size from 1820 to 1838). OCLC locates five editions of the map published between 1830 and 1837. In A Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Containing Miscellaneous Papers (Boston: Rockwell, 1886, pp. 168-169) there is a brief history of Stimpson’s Boston directory and the maps in them: “In 1828 a totally new map was engraved for the directory by Hazen Morse, and with the necessary changes, it appeared annually through 1838... With the fourteenth volume Charles Stimpson became the proprietor [of the Boston directory], and with one or two partners, managed it for over twenty-five years” (1820-1846). From 1831 to 1846 inclusive the title-page was inscribed “Stimpson’s Boston Directory.” See Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition), Vol. III, pp. 285 (H. Morse, noting an engraver of atlases in Boston 1821-1837). Charles Stimpson produced maps, guides, and directories of Boston, and his directories included a map. Typically, the map appeared uncolored in Stimpson’s directory, but it could also be purchased separately as a sheet map or a pocket map, as here. See Boston, Thirty-Sixth Annual Report of the City Engineer for the Year 1902, pp. 221-222.

     The map is interesting to examine in context of other maps of Boston, because during the first three decades of the nineteenth century, the city busily engaged in landmaking to accommodate its growing population. For example, here the Mill Pond, which had been used since 1643, is shown filled (see Nancy S. Seasholes, “Filling Boston’s Mill Pond” in Historical Archaeology, Vol. 32, No. 3 1998).

     This petite map is a genre of map seldom encountered. “In the United States, a miniature book is usually considered to be one which is no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness. Some aficionados collect slightly larger books while others specialize in even smaller sizes. Outside of the United States, books up to four inches are often considered miniature” (from the website of the Miniature Book Society). The pocket covers of our map measure 3-1/3 x 2-1/2 inches.


Auction 23 Abstracts

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