A magnificent and information-rich thematic map of North and South America, illustrating the main modes of international communication and transportation. Colorful, complex, and dramatic, and eminently suitable for display.
Baur’s map is one of the more dramatic examples of the many thematic maps to pour out of the German-speaking world in the third quarter of the 19th-century (For another, issued in Vienna in 1857, see here.) The best of these maps took advantage of high-quality lithography and innovative graphic design to present the unprecedented amounts of scientific data being produced and/or celebrate the explosion of global commerce.
The map depicts North and South America, along with their political subdivisions, as well as much of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Both hydrographical and topographical information are included, including the major ocean currents, areas of pack ice, river systems and mountain ranges. Constructed as it is “for the use of Geographie [sic] commercial,” the real emphasis is on the vital arteries of commerce and communication, including canals, rail lines, steamer routes and submarine cables. The steamer routes are indicated by a variety of symbols differentiating lines operated by German, English, French, North American, Brazilian and Spanish and Portuguese carriers, with italicized numbers indicating the length of the each route in days.
The map features six interesting cartographic insets. In the upper corners are insets of the poles, which serve primarily to demonstrate how little was known of these regions. At lower left are a “Physical Map of North America” and a map of the coast from the Carolinas to Maine. At lower right is a “Physical Map of South America” and an ethnographical chart of the Americas.
Baur’s work is undated, but was probably issued ca. 1872-1886. According to OCLC the Bibliotheque National holds an 1872 edition, while the 1881 Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society describe one as newly published. Finally, the Bibliotheca historico naturalis et physico-chemica lists an edition with the date 1886. Barry Ruderman has noted a variant lacking the Maier imprint below the titles and including two additional lines of text beneath Baur’s name.
As of February 2017 OCLC lists five institutional holdings, including the Bibliotheque Nationale (1872 and 1886 editions), British Library (1872), Osher Map Library (“1880s”) and Yale (also “1880s”).
Map excellent, case with some wear but sound, with illegible remnants of a private collector’s shelf labels on front board.