THE FIRST OFFICIAL STATE MAP OF VIRGINIA

 

$36,000

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AUTHOR:

BOYE, HERMAN

TITLE:

A Map of the State of Virginia Reduced from the nine sheet map of the state, in conformity to Law: by Herman Boye. Engraved by H.S. Tanner and E.B. Dawson. Philadelphia

CONDITION:

Copper-engraving on four sheets, joined, with a total measurement of 29-3/4” x 47-3/4”. Period color. Dissected and mounted on linen. Complete with the original gilt-stamped morocco protective covers. Very good condition.

DATE:

1827

DESCRIPTION:

First edition of the rare four-sheet version of the first official map of Virginia. The map was also published in a virtually unobtainable nine-sheet version, with second revised editions of both versions appearing in 1859.

No map of Virginia of such accuracy and detail had ever been attempted, and none could have been realized without the financial support of the Virginia legislature. Henry Tanner, the leading map publisher of the period, and the engraver of both versions of Boye’s map, described it as “the means of rectifying those glaring errors … which have hitherto disfigured all our maps of this important state.” Rumsey comments that it is “an imposing map, full of much detail and engraved in Tanner’s best style.” Boye’s map in its two versions was the prototype for all subsequent maps of Virginia for several decades.

Rare. This first edition of the four-sheet map almost never appears on the market. No copy is recorded as sold the auction records of in the Antique Map Price Record. The last recorded example was sold by the bookseller Edward Eberstadt in 1963. A copy was sold privately to a Virginia collector c.2000. OCLC locates only four examples: New York Public, British Library, University of Virginia, University of Alabama. Additional copies have been located at the Library of Congress and the Rumsey Collection.

The Virginia legislature passed an act in February 1816 authorizing the construction of an official map of the state. The project immediately gained the support of Thomas Jefferson, who submitted procedures for carrying out the act of Assembly. In 1817, the state appropriated $50,000. to complete the project, “excusive of the expense of engraving and publishing.” A separate map of each county based on actual survey was constructed under the supervision the chief surveyor, John Wood, and his successor, Herman Boye. The project took ten years to complete, and the finished map was published in 1827.

REFERENCES:

Stephenson & McKee, Virginia in Maps, pp. 121-124; Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, 121-123; Rumsey, 3130.000

Inventory No. 8149

Cohen & Taliaferro

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