Sunday, March 10, 2013

Antique Maps


I recently came across a collection of antique maps and couldn't resist 
bringing some of them home.


There was quite a large collection that included locations all over the United States 
but I pulled out as many Massachusetts towns as I could find, especially cities
and villages along the ocean.



I would assume each map was a page in a large book but each one
has been cut into perfect rectangles and mounted on cotton so they can
fold into a little booklet.  Many of them are signed "F.H. Silsbee, Lawrence, Mass."
and a few are dated 1899.  I googled F.H. Silsbee and found he was a graduate
of MIT and a member of the New England Cotton Manufacturer's Association

You can see faintly on the back of the Falmouth, Mass. map the text on the back
that reads "Desription of Topographic Map of the United States."

Let me show you a few.



Beverly and Salem, Mass.


Plymouth, Mass.


Yarmouth, Mass.

And I love that some of the maps
of seaside towns are mainly open water leaving an irregular edge
that make abstract shapes.



Provincetown, Mass.



Truro and Wellfleet, Mass.



The maps have a very soft red, white, blue and black color palette
that would fit very easily in almost room.



Fall River, Mass.
(Of Lizzie Bordon fame.)

Since each map has a grid of nine panes, I think they would look great framed 
and hung in a grid of nine.



A project that would certainly drive me crazy
getting hung perfectly.


* BY REQUEST *

For present and former Salem residents, historians, witches and warlocks, I'm adding an enlarged image of the Salem map.  It's too bad there's not more detail but I'm sure some of you (Donna Seger) will see some things that have changed.

(It seems it won't enlarge when you click so I'm making it as large as possible.)



52 comments:

  1. Would love to see a full copy of the Salem/Beverly one. I grew up there.

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    1. Monique,
      I'll take a few more photos and add them to the bottom of the post shortly. You should be able to click on the photo to enlarge it. It's pretty small.
      Steve

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  2. Love them! Whatever you do with them will look great, I'm sure.

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  3. Steve those maps are fabulous what a great find. I hope you do frame and hang one of the maps. Find any of NH? Fun to see how much things have changed.

    XXX
    Debra~

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  4. Very cool! I love old maps and have a thing for old documents in general. My mother just sent me a partial collection of deeds from the 1700s on sheep's vellum.
    I particularly enjoy, as I guess most do, old maps of the place I live or lived and seeing what is no longer. Its great for the imagination.

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  5. I have a framed May 14, 1856 Essex County Mercury newspaper (sandwiched between two panels of clear glass so that you can read both the front and back covers)from Salem, MA. in my living room. It is one of my favorite items. I look at it almost every day.

    I am sure F.H. Silsbee is relieved that his maps have found a happy, new home with you to take for them.

    All the best,
    Karla in CA.

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  6. Love this . . .Great find. Hanging them in a grid of nine would appeal to me too . . . especially if someone else was doing the grid/hanging. I hope we get to see what you decide to do!

    I find archectetural drawings of homes I have lived in an interesting art piece also.

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  7. Oh what a wonderful find. I suspect you will be showing us soon your own creative way of showcasing these treasures. I'm waiting.....

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  8. How beautiful. What a find. I love the soft blues.

    xo Terri

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  9. Great project!!! Ain't Google grand!! :) franki

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  10. Absolutely LOVE these maps and the idea of framing them! And I agree, getting them hung perfectly will be a challenge no doubt...Wish I could have come across a similar one over Fairfield, CT, we lived there as expats for 2 yrs...miss it A LOT. / Villemo, Sweden


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  11. Love old maps! My husband got hold of a huge collection, most of which are now at Ward Maps in Cambridge. Hoping to sell the whole lot soon : )

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  12. Well done!!! Looks amazing. I'll be honest with you, I'll steal from you that idea, but definition send you a picture how I made it.
    Greetings from Provence France.

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  13. I wonder if these are from the Atlantic Neptune? First printed in 1776 but in many editions since. I can't really make out the scale of your segments, but the resemblance is so strong. What a wonderful find, and so fitting for your home...

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    1. Each segment is about the size of a playing card. Do you think the pages came mounted on the cotton or linen substrate?

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  14. Steve
    They are beautiful and I think would be well worth the effort to hang in a grid...there's such an elegance to them...the colors go so well with your home too...nice find!
    am

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  15. OMG! Re: Beverly/Salem map image

    My husband and I have been doing genealogy research and have been collecting images for our family history ... the picture of your map will be perfect for placing our family during the 70's and 80's when my children were born and my husband worked at Parker Brothers ...

    May we have your permission to copy the image to our folder of family history? It's uncanny that we can place X's where our very first house (right after we married) sat ( on Essex St ... the major and the place of the corporate headquarters of Parker Bros. sat (out near old Montserrat Station) on that one image that you posted. So very cool!

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    1. I don't mind at all. I'm glad it's useful!

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  16. so cool!
    will they go in your "new" bedroom? or elsewhere?



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  17. I have read of a foolproof way to hang a grid of images, but heaven knows where! Must be on the internet...
    The maps are a great find, but I think you might have too many Steve, might need to share them around?

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  18. they will look perfect "chez toi"!

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  19. I'm a map person. I love looking at maps and I'm a good map reader thanks to my mom, who stressed it as a very useful skill to have (maybe because she was always the navigator on road trips). Your maps are beautiful. There is something so intriguing about old ones, because they show how things looked once upon a time in a way that's different than photos can.

    Be sure to show us how to use them in your home!
    Claudia

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  20. I love old maps - it looks like you scored some treasures!

    xo
    Claudia

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  21. These maps are to be enjoyed on so many levels. Aside from the lovely aesthetics, they are great conversation pieces. It's interesting to see, even as late as 1900, how much countryside surrounded cities.

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  22. Mr. Silsbee will be heartened at the interest you have shown in his maps. They would be spectacular framed and hung together. Great find. Ann

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  23. I love antique maps, the detail in them are works of art. I find them so beautiful that at one time I thought I might want to be a cartographer. Good call on not going that route, where would I be now? Can't wait to see what you'll do with them, there are so many possibilities. (I see you've "Springed" up your front stoop :)

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  24. Beautiful.If you find you can't get them hung right, send them down my way.

    I have a level.

    Oh god I don't she took it. I'll get another one.

    ( just a little divorce humor).

    xo Jane

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  25. What a jackpot find! My aunt used to live on Deep Pond in Falmouth, wondered it that shows up in your map. Can't wait to see what you do with them.

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  26. What a marvelous find! I love the idea of framing them to make a larger work of art!
    I did this in a clients home awhile back. they make these really amazing mounting bars...kind of like a track system. That's how we mounted ours, it worked perfectly!
    Congrats on the find!
    Donna

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  27. i would love to see the fall river one. i live there.

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  28. What a great find. I am so drawn to maps--especially old ones.

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  29. i would love to see the fall river one. i live there! nlafontaine14 at gmail.

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  30. Just terrific, Steve. I love old maps. Those are really handsome and simple. Any maps of DC?? Let me know if you come across any.
    Cheers,
    Loi

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  31. Your maps are quite handsome! I like the detail of the topography lines and the subtlety of the colors.
    I recently bought a number of pieces of Jerry Gretzinger's map. Have you heard of it? It was shown at Mass MOCA last October. Each piece is about 8" X 10". I, too, need some inspiration to frame them and hang them en masse.
    Please keep us posted - I will be very interested to see what you do with your maps.
    Cheers,
    Ruth

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  32. Hi Steve, Thanks for your helpful advice with the potting of bulbs in ceramic containers - I will give it a go right now and hope for some pots of color indoors this coming winter. Also, for your advice on the painted floor boards. Since my comment on your blog, I have moved the furniture back into the room and I love it. Maybe I was just fixating on the floor and not the overall concept. Love your blog - you have a great eye - the antique maps are fascinating! Regards, Tricia.

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  33. Incredible...love the soft colors and the caligraphy

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  34. Lové the design style of âgée olé maps, especially the ones framed with the Restoration home look using maps of France with all that natural feel, so grand in easy living.

    Xox
    Doré

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  35. Oh so beautiful.
    -Suzanne in illinois

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  36. I'm continually amazed at your gift for finding interesting, unusual and beautiful treasures. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  37. Hi Steve! I've left comments a couple times before but don't think they're getting to you. Hope you're well. I just LOVE these maps and would kill for that Wellfleet one (my favorite place.) Spring is just around the corner. Can't wait!

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  38. I was thinking of you and how long it's been since you did a post.
    Then I come to your blog and realized that somehow I missed this post!
    I love the maps, especially the blue of them.
    But I also am drawn to the pen and ink on the backs.
    I love that too.

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  39. how on earth did I miss this when I wait and wait for you to post? You are the only blogger I actually keep checking for a new post! I've always thought framed maps are cool. I have one I still haven't framed, 10 years later, from a vacation. Hope you had a good week :)

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  40. What a great find! Love old maps especially of places near and dear to my heart.

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  41. I can't wait to see them hung if you decide to take on the project :)

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  42. Steve,
    I thought I had left a comment...these are an amazing find. I'm sure you can study them for hours. They will look gorgeous hung in a grid like the one you've shown. The colors are so pretty. Interesting history about the maker too.
    annie

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  43. You know, I think a map of P-town/Wellfleet/Truro would be awesome in my home. So many great memories. *off to find some* - thanks for the inspiration! - Cris

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  44. Ooh I have a set of 4 maps just like the second to last picture that I've been meaning to frame for a few years! so this post just reminded me. :)

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  45. I'm such a whore for old maps. I'm actually using one of Atlanta (1889) for a client right now. I love how they are backed in cotton....way cool!

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