Every month on our home page, we provide a monthly list of maps that have been scanned and added to the online collections of the Geography and Map Division. To celebrate the end of the year and to ring in the new, I took a look back at the lists of maps that have been scanned this past year and chose just a few to share with you!
In January, a copy of the first map engraved in New England was scanned and placed online. Made in 1677 with north oriented to the right, this map has been attributed to John Foster, who printed William Hubbard’s Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians, in which this map appeared. It is also the first map known to have been published in the English colonies of North America.
A map from the April scan list also grabbed my attention. In 1831, Joseph Hutchins Colton founded a map making company in New York City which became internationally renowned. I first paused at this map, published in 1855 by J.H. Colton & Company, due to the unexpected spelling of “Kanzas.” At the time, Kansas and neighboring Nebraska were newly established territories of the United States, with each of them becoming states in the 1860s. The name “Kansas” derives from the Kaw Nation, a Native American tribe indigenous to the region that is also known as the “Kanza.” In addition to this interesting toponym, as I looked closer at the map, I enjoyed looking at the fine details and the intricate shading of the map.
The collections of the Geography and Map Division have a global reach, as exemplified in the maps below that caught my eye. The beautifully illustrated Chinese Lighthouse Chart, published by H.C. Müller in 1894, was compiled from British Admiralty charts and shows not only the ranges of visible light from lighthouses along the China coast, but also the patterns of the light signals. The other map below, titled A New and exact mapp of the island of Jamaica, was published in 1684 by Charles Bochart and Humphrey Knollis. With the high-resolution scans available, I can zoom in close and appreciate the level of detail that can be seen in both maps.
No collection of highlights of this year’s newly scanned items would be complete without including the Codex Quetzalecatzin, an extremely rare Mesoamerican manuscript. Read all about this incredible piece in our Worlds Revealed blog post on the codex from November.
Take a look yourself through what has been scanned this year or check back every month of the new year for an updated list of the scanned items added to the online collections of the Geography and Map Division. With over 6 million maps in the collection, including the newly scanned panoramic map below, there is still plenty of scanning to do in the coming year!