Camden, Maine in 1856

From actual survey by D.S. Osborne / Published by E.M. Woodford / Lith. W.H. Rease / Printed by Wagner & McGuigan, MAP of the Town of CAMDEN WALDO COUNTY MAINE.  N.E. Corner 4th & Chestnut Sts., Philadelphia, 1856.
Lithograph, 47”h x 39 ¾”w plus margins, original color. Lined with linen and mounted on rollers, as issued.

This extremely rare map of Camden, Maine is an attractive and wonderfully-detailed depiction of a small coastal town roughly midway between Portland and Mount Desert Island. The map also depicts Rockport, which was part of Camden until seceding in 1891 due to a dispute over how to pay for a bridge. Today Camden is best known as an artists’ colony and tourist destination, but in the 19th century and into the 20th it prospered from shipping, shipbuilding, and the production of lime.

The format of the image—a relatively small-scale map of the township at top and larger-scale plans of the villages of Camden and Rockport below—is typical of the many maps published in Philadelphia in the mid-1850s. The township map shows Camden in its entirety, emphasizing the topography and road network and identifying the occupants of outlying properties as well as schools, mills, lime quarries and kilns, and other businesses. The plans of Camden and Rockport are remarkably detailed, with the footprints of individual buildings shown and their owners identified. Of particular interest are the numerous wharves, shipyards and related businesses along Camden’s waterfront. The visual appeal of the image is greatly enhanced by no fewer than 21 vignettes, including many fine residences, the shipyards of Carleton, Norwood & Co. and Hodgman & Glover, and a scene of ice cutting on Lily Pond.

This is the first printed map of Camden, and it was not superseded until Roe & Colby’s map of 1875.

E.M. Woodford and D.S. Osborne
E.M. Woodford is credited as the surveyor on at least nine maps of Connecticut towns, eleven of Massachusetts towns and two of New Hampshire towns, all published between 1851 and 1855. Many—and possibly all—of these appeared under the imprint of Philadelphia publisher Richard Clark. Woodford also tried his hand at publishing, and his imprint appears on at least thirteen maps, including nine of Maine towns made by D.S. Osborne.

Little is known about Osborne, other than that he conducted surveys for at least 11 maps of Maine towns, as well as two maps of Massachusetts towns published by Clark. Ten of Osborne’s twelve maps bear a publication data of 1855, and the exceptions (a map of Gardiner, Maine and the map of Camden offered here) appeared in 1856.

OCLC 556790646 (British Library only). Not in Phillips, List of Maps of America; Rumsey; or Thompson, Important Maine Maps &c. I find no record of another example of the map having appeared on the antiquarian market.


Gently toned and somewhat scuffed. Small hole at upper left (not affecting printed image), faint water staining across top, and some fraying at edges. Withal, about very good for its type.