Rare French & Indian War map

   Posted by: rring   in Uncategorized

Rediscovering the amazing things we hold in the Watkinson in the course of our daily work is one of the best parts of the job.

Associate Curator Sally Dickinson, who specializes in cataloging and preservation, has been methodically removing oversize maps from flat files that are too small to hold them unfolded, in preparation for storing them in a custom-made metal case with drawers big enough to hold them flat.

Of the several eye-catching maps that have been literally unfolding before our eyes, this one presented a bit of a mystery. We could not initially find a reference to it, but after asking a few specialists in the field we can say that it is a “pirated” map, dated ca. 1758/59, and one of only three copies of this particular issue in a library (the others are at the Boston Public Library and the Library of Congress).

Based on Bowen & Gibson’s wall map of 1755, maps such as this one were produced to make political statements, depicting various claims cartographically–locating forts which should not have been erected, “correcting” boundaries that were “misrepresented” in other maps, and pointing out when and where violations of treaties and sales with the Five Nations occurred, etc.

Library of Congress copy:
Boston Public copy:


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