Ontario County Atlases

McGill University's Canadian County Atlas Digital Project.

JH Maps @ Wild Rose 2013

Once again I find myself rushing to get ready for the upcoming Wild Rose Antique Collectors' 2013 Show and Sale. Once again I find myself giddy with excitement as I do so. I'll be in the same spot as last year (booth #439) and hope to see old friends, new friends, and anyone with an interest in old maps.

Something new this year: I have a selection of rare and fascinating architectural prints from a 19th century Austrian journal. As well, there will be a 4th edition copy of Baedecker's, The Dominion of Canada with Newfoundland and an Excursion to Alaska, (1922), maps from the Dominion of Canada, Animated Atlas, (c. 1920), The Atlas of Canada, (1915), and Burritt's Celestial Atlas, (1856).

The show is at Hall E of the Edmonton Expo Centre and I'll be in Booth 439, Row D. Please join us Friday, March 29th between 9a.m. and 5p.m. or Saturday, March 30th between 10a.m. and 5p.m. 


Map of the Land of Love

Some quick photos of the Carte du pays de tendre, before I'm off to work this Valentine's Day. As I understand it, Catherine Vivonne, marquise de Rambouillet was so disgusted with the conduct of the men at the French court, she left, and with her husband, began holding salons in their residences.

One member of those influential salons, author Madeleine de Scudéry (the first "bluestocking"), created the Carte du pays de tendre as part of her book, Clélie.  (These images are from a 19th century reproduction.)

 Carte du pays de tendreCarte du pays de tendreDedicationDedication




8/14 Update: This looks interesting.

Pure Spec 2012 Wrap-up

I had an absolute BLAST at Pure Spec last weekend. I met so many cool people, heard so many cool ideas, saw so many cool things... I even made back my costs on the booth and the money I spent to bag and back almost my complete inventory. More importantly, I got to hang with one of the most interesting groups of people I've come across in a long time.

I didn't have a very good time last year, despite a brave face. I was disorganized, the temp dropped to -29C the day before, the car was frozen Sunday morning... I was tired and cranky and feeling a bit defeated. This year, much to my delight, everything just seemed to click. While I can always be better organized, the weather was good, I somehow crammed everything into the Accent, the new booth setup seems to be working the way I'd planned... On Saturday I finally decided I had better eat something before I passed out, so I abandoned my booth and ran across the street to Wendy's. I walked in and there's my Dad standing in the front of the line-up because he was going to (spontaneously and out of the kindness of his heart) bring me some food. "... I suspect people of plotting to make me happy."

There are so many people to thank for my current giddiness, starting with the Pure Spec organizers, many anonymous, who staged such a great event, and especially to Jay, who had to deal with me directly, a task my employers will agree is *never* easy. I do promise (here, publicly ;) to give back. Thanks also to those who came by the booth to look or chat or buy. I was glad to see so much interest and I've been amply rewarded for my belief that any time you gather a bunch of intelligent, interesting people together, you've got a market for antique maps. It never fails to amaze me the varied interests that attract people to my booth: authors, literary fans, nationalists, history buffs. I always end up learning something about something.

It was a treat to see so many of the vendors I met last year, once again. They and many of the others had lots of tips and suggestions for me as I work toward getting things the way I want them. Much appreciated! Finally, thanks to Grant Macewan's staff for the space, especially Security, who had to wander around all night and watch our stuff. If I've forgotten anyone it's because I'm just overwhelmed by how friendly and welcoming everyone was.

I'll definitely be back next year. If I'm working, I'll quit. If I'm in jail, I'll break out. If I'm dead, I'll rise from the grave. Hope to see you all again there, if not sooner.

JH Maps @ Pure Speculation

JH Maps will be at the Pure Speculation Festival this weekend with a wide variety of antique maps. As always, if you have an old map or globe you'd like to know more about, sell, or just show off, please bring it along.

Featured maps for this show will be Merrill Lynch's Myths, Maps, and Men, an illustrated map of the moon; Schraembl's spectacular three-sheet map of South America; and a set of six SDUK celestials.

Embrace your inner (outer?) geek and join us for a weekend of games, costumes, authors, and fun!

Sam Steele Exhibit

The recently repatriated records of Sir Sam Steele are now on public exhibition in downtown Edmonton. “Sam Steele: The Journey of a Canadian Hero” will run until September 30th, with displays of his journals, photographs, correspondence, and other personal items. The exhibit also includes period uniforms and weapons on loan from the Glenbow Museum, the RCMP, and others.

Steele was involved in many key events in Canadian history: the Wolseley (Red River) Expedition, the North-West Mounted Police March West, the pursuit of Big Bear, policing the Klondike Gold Rush, the Boer War, the establishment of the South African Constabulary (SAC)... he even volunteered for frontline duty in the First World War at aged 70. A timeline running the length of the exhibit gives context to Steele’s life, while a short (23 min.) film personalizes him through a dramatization of his correspondence with his wife, Marie.

Several manuscript maps are in the collection and are available online through the Peel’s Prairie Provinces website. Two maps are from the 1870 Red River diary of Lt. Col. Griffiths Wainwright. One covers Fort Francis to Fort William while the other shows the Winnipeg River from Rat Portage (Lake of the Woods) to Fort Alexander (Lake Winnipeg). The other three are from Steele’s time in South Africa: the area SW of Komatiepoort, Boer Commando positions at Machadodorp, and an SAC map running north from Pretoria, all ca. 1900. None of these maps is signed.

The Richard Bonnycastle Gallery houses five spectacular lithographs depicting government victories during the North-west Rebellion. The full-colour, folio sheets, created by the publishers of the Canadian Pictorial and Illustrated War News, are on loan to the exhibit from a private collector. These really do steal the show, but my favourite item was the very sharp, blue “undress uniform”, ca. 1880 - 82. Supt. Arthur Griesbach wore the example on display. 

Capture of BatocheCapture of Batoche Sam SteeleSam Steele

The exhibit is courtesy the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library, University of Alberta and a variety of public and private sponsors. Located downtown (rather appropriately) in the old Hudson’s Bay building (Enterprise Square Gallery, 10230 Jasper Ave.), admission is $7. Catalogues ($5) are available in person at Enterprise Square or the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library.

 All photos courtesy of the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library, University of Alberta. Lithograph images courtesy the private collection of Mr. Richard Bonnycastle. Reproduced by permission. Support my local library, s.v.p.


Nebenzahl Collection Nets $11.6 Million.

The private book collection of Kenneth B. Nebenzahl went on the block recently at Christie’s Auction House in New York with a sale total (hammer price + buyer’s premium) of $11,663,937 US. The Chicago rare-book dealer’s collection, noted for its early Americana and travel books, also featured some of the finest examples of early cartography anywhere: the most important illustrated, Renaissance travel book of the Eastern Mediterranean; several manuscript and printed atlases; and a first edition copy of Apianus’ first printed work, Isagoge in Typum Cosmographicum seu Mappam Mundi. My personal favorite is the manuscript portolan atlas by Battista Agnese produced on vellum in the early 1540s. (See esp. lots 155 - 165.)

Nebenzahl has been a prolific author on cartography and a strong supporter of Chicago’s Newberry Library. He and his wife Jossy are patrons of the Kenneth Nebenzahl, Jr., Lectures in the History of Cartography at the library’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography.

Wild Rose 2012 Wrap-up

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat or listen to me babble. It was great to see so many faces from last year and a bit surprising that so many came with items for sale. My special thanks go to Bernie for once again working so hard to give us a hassle-free show, as well as all the other volunteers from Wild Rose.

After a very busy first day, Saturday was a bit slower and I got a chance to look around.

A Hit. I picked up a 1934 London Underground map on the hope that it was an early edition. Henry Charles (Harry) Beck, an engineering draughtsman with London Transport (LT), first designed his revolutionary schematic plan while laid off as part of an “economy drive” in 1931. Although London Transport had begun a consolidation of services using modernist design as a key element, Beck’s map was considered “too revolutionary” when first presented. In January 1933, LT relented and issued 500 copies of Beck’s new map. The public loved them and LT issued six more editions that year. Mine is the second edition for 1934 with the extra space. Given the ephemeral nature of these maps, I expect that mine, though not first edition, is still somewhat rare. 

Beck received little for his efforts despite continuing to refine his design throughout his life. He was paid fi9 x 6"9 x 6"ve guineas (£5.25) and his name was tucked away in the bottom left corner of the map. Credit for the map’s clarity and simplicity initially went to LT’s Chief Executive, Frank Pick, who had led the consolidation and given the system its distinctive look. Over the last 20 years Beck has begun to be recognized for his accomplishment and in 2001 Transport for London began crediting him with the original idea for what is today considered one of Britain’s greatest designs of the 20th century.1

A Miss. A hunch I did not act on was a small religious print in a frame marked as “18th C.” I thought it showed the D'ohD'ohbaptism of the Infant with members of the Jesuits adoring. My Latin is pretty bad, so the title, 'LITANIAE DOM: NOSTRI IESU.', didn’t help much. What intrigued me was the credit on the bottom: 'Hieronymus Wierx fecit et excudit'. The name seemed to ring a bell and I was pretty sure that bell had been cast well before the 1700s. Once home I realized I was right about the date but wrong about the subject matter. I really have to get a laptop.

Thanks again, one and all. Hope to see you next year, if not sooner.

1 The most comprehensive history of the Beck Underground Map is the BBC4 programme, Design Classics: The London Underground Map. (1987, 26 min.)

Wild Rose 2012

JHMaps will be exhibiting at the 2012 Wild Rose Antique Collectors’ Show. The show is at Hall E of the Edmonton Expo Centre and I’ll be in Booth 439, Row D. Please join us Friday, April 6th between 9a.m. and 5p.m. or Saturday, April 7th between 10a.m. and 5p.m.

Featured maps for this show include a set of 1920s prairie homestead maps produced by the Canadian government, one of the earliest separately issued maps of Manitoba, and a landmark map of the Alaska Highway produced by local map maker, Gordon Mundy.

As always, I hope someone will bring in something cool to show off or sell.

Mercator atlas translated

A full English translation of Mercator’s 1595 atlas is online at the New York Society Library. Featured is the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection’s (Library of Congress) coloured, folio edition of the landmark atlas, supported by a description and collation of the book, a biography of Mercator, translator’s notes, and an article about colour in early maps.

Cover-to-cover thumbnails link to hi-res images, but you’ll notice they take * forever * to load. (20 minutes) Once they have, you can then flip through the pages without further delays.

This is the Octavo CD-ROM edition I was coveting when first published in 2000.

Russian Map Exhibition

Museum of Russian IconsMuseum of Russian IconsThe Worchester News Telegram reports an exhibition of Russian maps from the collection of Denis Khotimsky at the Museum of Russian Icons (Clinton, MA), February 28 - May 26, 2012. A short (2:41) news video runs from the museum's page.

Recently on MapHist 11.2

New issues of two map-related journals are out.

The Portolan, first published in 1984 by the Washington Map Society,  keeps members abreast of upcoming events and new books. Despite their modest mandate “to provide information of specific interest to our membership,” the journal publishes original research on maps from around the world. In the Fall 2011 issue: maps in children’s books, sea monsters, George Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Texas, and the Museo Nacional de la Cartografía, México. Far ranging interests indeed.

e-Perimetron is a peer-reviewed quarterly whose aim is “to couple issues on history of cartography and maps with a variety of possibilities offered by the new digital information and communication technologies.” Many of the articles deal with G.I.S. and map warping... I think.

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center has a new home at the Boston Public Library’s McKim Building. The new space hosts the second largest map collection in any U.S. public library (200,000+ maps, 5,000+ atlases, and a portion of Leventhal’s private collection), a 1775 Boston map reproduced in stained glass,  and a three-foot diameter globe.


A discussion of the odometers used by two U.S. Founding Fathers led to a couple of websites about their scientific instruments. Monticello.org has pages on several of Jefferson’s instruments, including an odometer, while Ben Franklin’s are best found by scrolling to the bottom of ‘Object Types’ on the Search page of BenFranklin300.org.

A post by Michael Zeiler is a good excuse to mention his year-old site dedicated to current and historical maps of solar eclipses. Eclipse-maps.com also examines the transits of Venus.

Michael Buehler of Boston Rare Maps was the guest curator of the Harvard Map Collection’s, “Toward a National Cartography: American Mapmaking, 1782-1800.” His new online gallery of 22 maps, atlases, and books recreates that exhibit and demonstrates the post-Colonial emergence of a uniquely American cartography, “different in goals, subject matter, methods and aesthetics from [...] British [colonial] maps.”

Added bonus! I also see an online exhibition by the Harvard Map Collection that may not have made the list. Going for Baroque: The Iconography of the Ornamental Map examines how the “richly nuanced symbols, analogies, and coded commentaries” within“decorative cartographic devices - cartouches, vignettes, figural borders, title pages, and frontispieces - could provide narrative underpinnings for the geospatial content of maps.”

New Books:

Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe Susan Dackerman, ed. Based on the current Harvard exhibition featuring “a rich display of prints, books, maps, and scientific instruments exploring the role of celebrated artists in the scientific inquiries of the 16th century,” this collection of essays and reproductions appears to be more than ‘just’ a catalogue.

The American Librarian’s Association has released an interesting title: Guide to Security Considerations and Practices for Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collection Libraries. While the intended audience is probably quite narrow, I expect this would hold some interest for map dealers as well as some collectors. Supplemented with several appendices, including biographies of recent thieves and a survey of the thousands of books stolen by Stephen Blumberg, “the key focus of this volume is on the prevention of theft of rare materials.”

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, by Ken Jennings to mixed reviews.

Great Railway Maps of the World by Mark Ovenden (Particular Books)

JH Maps @ Pure Spec 2011


John Horrigan Antique Maps is ecstatic to announce our participation in this year's Pure Speculation Festival. I’ll be in Booth 14 with a somewhat limited range of maps (mostly local & astronomical stuff) so I can focus on the disposal of my collection of SF, Fantasy, and Children’s books. As always, I hope somebody will pop by with a cool map or globe to show off, ask about, or sell. We invite you to embrace your Inner Geek and join us at the Robbins Health Centre.

Recently on MapHist 11.1

MapHist is the academic mailing list for map historians, collectors, and enthusiasts. Following the demise of The Map Room blog, it occurs to me that some might enjoy hearing about the links without having to sift through some of the more obtuse discussions. This, then, is the first instalment of “Recently on MapHist” a monthly recap of new websites, books, etc. (more)

Seeing Alberta - 1941: An early map and travel guide to the Banff - Jasper Highway

Page 6b - The MapPage 6b - The MapThis summer marks the 71st anniversary of the Banff - Jasper Highway's opening . Begun as a Depression-era social project, workers completed the highway in 1940, just as the fighting war was starting up in Europe. Despite the war, less than a year later, urban and rural businesses banded together to promote the new route with a travel guide and map. Seeing Alberta - 1941 - [is a] Descriptive Travel Guide to Alberta’s Park - to - Park Route, which includes over 100 ads and an interesting racial undertone. (more)

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