What Map is This?: Part 2

For many collectors, the progressively mundane character of later 19th century maps is no match for the seductive combination of artistry and expansion of geographic knowledge associated with colonial era maps. It’s no wonder that cartobibliographers have focused on the earlier maps. In Part 1, we discussed the excellent references available for identifying pre-19th century maps of North Carolina, and the dearth of references for maps published after 1800. Let’s take a look at one very helpful on line guide for a subset of 19th century atlas maps.

Alvin J. Johnson published a series of atlases from 1854-1887, under the names A.J. Johnson, Johnson and Browning and Johnson and Ward. Dr. Ira Lourie  has created a data set of the changes in Johnson’s U.S. and state maps which will allow the user of his website to definitively date the publication of any loose map from Johnson’s atlases. This tremendous resource can be found at The Johnson Map Project web site. Dr. Lourie’s data for the Johnson map of North & South Carolina can be viewed on two pages:

1860-1864/5 series

1865-1887 series

 A similar database for the numerous variants of “A New Map of Nth Carolina…” (1833-c1862) is on my wish list. What’s on yours?

2 thoughts on “What Map is This?: Part 2

  1. March 20, 2014 – At 7:00 p.m., Washington Map Society
    Dr. Ira Lourie will speak on his project involving the indexing of Johnson atlas maps. In 30 years of working with the atlas maps of Alvin J. Johnson, published from 1860 to 1887, it has become obvious that still existing atlases published in the 1860s are much more plentiful than those in the 1870s and 1880s. Since no publishing data have been found, the U.S. Johnson Map Project has taken on the task of identifying which atlases and individual variations of the US maps in those atlases are rarer than others. The purpose of this task is to help conserve the rarer items and create price equity among all of the maps and atlases sold. This presentation will show how the Index is being created, which will lead to a discussion of the basis on which the rarity should be rated and ultimately of the usefulness of such an Index by curators, collectors and dealers.

    Program sessions will be held in the Reading Room, Geography and Map Division, B level, Library of Congress, Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. Please allow adequate time to pass through the security checkpoint at the Library’s entrance in time to be seated for the start of the meeting. The Library is one block from METRO’s Capital South Station (Blue and Orange Lines). The Chairman of the WMS Program Committee is Ted Callaway. phone 202-215-4501

  2. Issue 91 (Winter 2014) of The Portolan contains “The U.S. Johnson Map Project’s Rarity Index for Johnson Atlas Maps” by Ira S. Lourie. If you do not receive The Portolan via membership in the Washington Map Society, individual copies are available for purchase here

    Just 11 hours after I posted the above comment, an email was distributed from Ira Lourie as follows:
    The US Johnson Map Project announces its Rarity Index for Johnson’s US Map Variations. This Index, published in the Fall 2014 issue of the Portolan journal of the Washington Map Society, is now available on the http://www.JohnsonMapProject.org website.

    Each of the 658 variations of Johnson’s 67 U.S. maps used from 1860-1887 has been rated as R=Rare; A=Average; or P=Plentiful. The ratings are now included in the data pages for each map on the Johnson Map Project website.

    These ratings were derived from the cataloging of 4000 maps: 1) 2581 of which were found in atlases in library and major private collections and 2) all 1419 Johnson U. S. maps which were offered for sale on E-bay from April 2013 to December 2014. A full description of the methodology for the development of this Rarity Index was presented at a meeting of the Washington Map Society in March 2014 and was published in the above mentioned Portolan article.
    For more information or to discuss the index, feel free contact me, Ira Lourie, at maps@JohnsonMapProject.org

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