Eighteenth-century Nantucket

P. F. Tardieu (engraver), CARTE DE L'ILE DE NANTUCKET, [Paris, 1787].
Engraving, 8"h x 11"w plus margins, uncolored

A charming little map of Nantucket and Tuckanuck Islands. Both are depicted in considerable detail, including geographical features, the town and outlying settlements on the eastern coast. Two legends identify by name no fewer than 32 numbered locations

The map was issued in the Paris edition of Letters from an American Farmer, which had first appeared in London in 1783. This work is a fascinating outsider’s view of the people, culture and natural attractions of the new United States, as seen through the eyes of a French émigré. Howes calls it a “description of American life of great influence in attracting European immigration in the post-revolutionary period. As literature unexcelled by any American work of the eighteenth century.”

The original English edition of Letters contained folding maps of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, which were carefully copied by Tardieu for the French edition.

Phillips, Maps of America, p. 457. Letters is listed in Howes, U.S.-Iana, #C883.