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Friday, March 25, 2011

Original Manuscript Maps of Annapolis, the Severn River, Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay

These are the very essence of American engineering and independent thinking. They illustrate the USE that the Navy was put to to develop commercial opportunities on the American Coast. 
Today the US Navy intimidates arab oil pigs.  In 1830 they made it possible for our commercial trade to explode and brought about the birth of American Commerce with the rest of the world.
Today insurance companies spin derivatives.  In 1830 they made better charts of rivers so that navigation would be safe and rates for insurance would be lower.
These are the ORIGINAL works.  NOT lithographic or engraved copies.   The real thing.  The finished product.

They are on display in my New York Gallery at 29 East 72nd Street.   For the Northern Chesapeake Bay these are the finest original manuscript charts that exist anywhere in the world.

It is truly the chance of a life time to own them.  

All four maps - two original manuscripts, one lithographic and one a proof for the lithograph were acquired from the Maryland Academy of Science nine months ago.  The Academy has changed their focus to creating interest in science for children and made the decison to sell their archival cartographic holdings six months AFTER they were turned down by the Library of Congress, the Maryland Historial Society, the Maryland Archives and Johns Hopkins University.   They kindly gave me a great opportunity and now have my pledge to work for the Maryland Science Center as it is now called for the rest of my life.  Their mission is far greater than mine and it will be a great privledge to help them as much as possible.

The finest man to come out of the state of Maryland in the last 100 years, Williard Hackerman, introduced me to this institution.

Here is a description that Kate Hunter and Barnet Schecter wrote about the group of four maps:


Maps for a Nascent Industrial Revolution—and Civil War
In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, as the age of sail gave way to steamships, Baltimore, on the Patapsco River, was the nation’s third largest city and one of its leading ports. This next group of four maps is the first modern, scientific survey of the area, reflecting the need for accurate maritime data during this major period of transition. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and stretches from Virginia Beach in Virginia to Havre de Grace, in Maryland at the mouth of the Susquehanna River, and is the shipping artery for Norfolk, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland. The bay is the drowned, ancestral valley of the Susquehanna River, now fed by runoff from tributaries of the Potomac, Patuxent, Patapsco, Rappahannock, and James Rivers. With steamships (owned by Baltimore merchants Brantz and Wirgman and their colleagues) replacing sailing ships, a complete modern survey of the shores of the bay and of its depths was essential.           

“Survey of the River Patapsco and part of Chesapeake Bay,” 1818, signed by Sherburne, Brantz, and Wirgman, is an exceptionally fine, large and beautiful original manuscript map of the Patapsco River from the City of Baltimore to the mouth of the Charles River in Chesapeake Bay, drawn in black and red ink and color wash, noting all river outlets, points, and depths, with a long explanatory inscription, an inset of “Loading marks” and a “Table of Triangulation.” Its purpose was to give definitive soundings of the river and the bay, which are meticulously recorded, with a red line indicating the “loading marks and ranges used for ships of heavy draft .” These soundings were made by Lieutenant Sherburne, a surveyor in the U.S. navy from about 1813-1827.

The survey was “instituted by the Marine Insurance Companies of Baltimore and executed at their expense, under the direction of Lewis Brantz,” a local merchant who had travelled extensively and published a memoir of his travels in the western states of America: “He devoted himself, for a long time, to surveying the Patapsco river, its branches, and part of the Chesapeake Bay; the engraved map of which is now found, by expert seamen, to be the best that has hitherto been prepared” (Carnegie Library Pittsburgh). He was instrumental in achieving the building of Maryland’s first lighthouse project, recommending that lighthouses be placed at the mouth of the Patapsco River at Bodkin Point, North Point, and Sparrows’ Point. He was president of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad, which he helped to complete in January of 1838, after which he died suddenly.[xxiv]

The next map in this group, also entitled “Survey of the River Patapsco and part of Chesapeake Bay,” is the published version of the map above with additional insets of Annapolis and Baltimore: A fine lithographed map showing the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay from the city of Baltimore to the mouth of the Charles River, with insets of “Annapolis Harbour & Roads” and “Survey of the Harbour of Baltimore and the Waters adjacent.”

The third map in this group “Annapolis Harbour & Roads Survey’d by Jonathan W. Sherburne. U.S. Navy,” (Baltimore, ca 1817) is the original manuscript map for the inset published as part of the official map of Brantz’s survey of the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay on behalf of the Marine Insurance Companies of Baltimore. A fine, detailed and beautiful original manuscript map drawn by John Frederick Geodecke after Sherburne, it is drawn in pen and black ink with color wash, showing Annapolis, Fort Madison, and Chesapeake Bay, and decorated with a compass rose, trees, houses, and soundings in the bay, with an inset, “Tables of Triangles used in constructing this chart.”

The final map in this group, also entitled “Annapolis Harbour & Roads Survey’d by Jonathan W. Sherburne. U.S. Navy,” (Baltimore: F. Lucas Jr., 1819) was published as an inset of the official map of Brantz’s survey of the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay on behalf of the Marine Insurance Companies of Baltimore. This fine, detailed, and accurate engraved map, with original hand-color wash, was an inset from a larger plate, which has been obscured during printing.  This is a proof made for the published map.

$650,000 for the group of four maps. 

The full catalog of this amazing acquisition from the Maryland Academy of Science is available on request to grahamarader@gmail.com

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