An attractive example of George Eldridge’s iconic tourist map of Martha’s Vineyard featuring vibrant color, a wealth of information, and appealing pictorial elements.
The map provides much detail of the island’s topography, roads and railroads, landmarks, and property ownership. It also offers much information of particular value to visitors, such as the routes of the steamship lines serving the island, the locations of steamboat landings and inns, and even promising sites from which to fish for bluefish and striped bass. Also included is a small inset map showing the location of Martha’s Vineyard relative to the Elizabeth Islands, Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay, as well as tables of on- and off-island distances. The visual appeal of the image is greatly enhanced by the bright and attractive coloring, as well as the numerous vignettes of steamships and sailing vessels plying the waters around the island.
The map was published by G.W. Eldridge of Chatham, Mass. (1845-1914), the son and heir to the business of George Eldridge (1821-1900). The senior Eldridge produced his first chart (of the waters around Chatham) in 1851, and the firm bearing his name continued issuing charts until 1932, while the Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book remains in publication to this day. In contrast to the complex charts issued by the U.S. Coast Survey, Guthorn praises those issued by the Eldridges for their “good design, simplicity, and omission of extraneous shore topography, legible sounding and notes, and the use of compass courses only… Their loyal public; fishermen, coaster, tug masters, and yachtsmen, often continued to use obsolete Eldridge charts until the beginning of World War II.” (p.12)
The map was first published in 1892. Offered here is an example of the 1913 second edition, featuring a number of changes and additions.
OCLC #20741239. Background on the Eldridge firm from Guthorn, United States Coastal Charts, p. 12.
Flattened and lined, with minor repairs along old folds and some toning at upper left where originally tipped into folder.