Map of Boston and its Vicinity from Actual Survey
JOHN G. HALES
Published 1819, Philadelphia
Size: 26" X 32"
A rare first state of John G. Hales’ superb map of Boston and the surrounding area. Hales’ map is important because it is the first large scale map of the greater Boston area and it was most likely the first map by an American based cartographer to use triangulation for the surveying of such an extensive geographic area.
The triangulation method of surveying the greater Boston area provided viewers with more details and greater accuracy than prior surveying methods. As such, Hales’ map provides detailed information on town and county lines, turnpikes and public roads as well as private roads or contemplated roads, churches and meeting houses, country seats and dwelling houses, rivers, rivulets and other bodies of water, islands and ponds, marshes and woodland and declivity of hills and their summit height. Other annotations provide locations of important commercial endeavours such as salt works and factories as well as schools and certain prominent land owners, including the former seat of General Washington’s Head Quarters. Harvard University is also noticeably depicted within Cambridge.
This map was first engraved by Edwin Gillingham and issued in 1819 by Hales and John Melish. Subsequent editions were issued without Melish’s imprint in 1820, 1829 and posthumously in 1833.
It should be noted that because of Hales’ highly regarded work on this map as well as his large scale map of Boston Map of Boston in the State of Massachusetts issued in 1814, led him to be commissioned by the Selectmen of Boston to issue another and vastly more detailed plan of Boston proper but was published only in 1894 as Maps of the Streets-Lines of Boston, some 52 years after his death.
Hales’ beautiful map of Boston thus remains an important map for collectors interested in early cartography of the Northeast of America and of Boston in particular.
(Sources: BRM Superb map of the Boston area by John G. Hales.)