Important map of the White Mountains by Henry Walling

[Henry Francis] Walling, MAP OF THE WHITE MOUNTAINS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE FROM WALLING’S LARGE MAP OF THE STATE 1881.  New York, NY: Julius Bien, 1877/1881.
Lithograph, 24”h x 28”w plus margins, original full color. Folded and tipped into pebbled-cloth pocket with blind-stamp ornament and title in gilt. Road from North Conway and Chatham to Mt. Kearsarge and up to its summit added in ink. Few minor separations at folds and wear to gutter of pocket folder, but better than very good.

An important, visually striking and scarce pocket map of the White Mountains of New Hampshire by Henry Frances Walling, one of the greatest American mapmakers of the 19th century.

The map depicts the natural and human geography of the region in great detail, including lakes, streams and rivers; hills and mountains; county and town boundaries; roads and railroads; and mills, factories and other industrial establishments. The most striking features, however, are the isometric lines used to show elevations at 100-foot intervals, with further clarity added by the use of vivid hand-coloring to differentiate 1000-foot intervals.

This is a revised version of a map first issued by Walling in 1877, with added geographic features and the Profile & Franconia Notch R. R. extended to the south. Describing the 1877 edition, Adam Apt ably reviews the map’s background in his Maps of the White Mountains of New Hampshire

“The ‘Map of the State’ [in the title] refers to Walling’s Atlas of the State of New Hampshire (…1877, maps printed by Julius Bien)….  The level of precision in this map is clearly far greater than that of any earlier map of the region. Walling was able to make use of the complete triangulation of the state by the U.S. Coast Survey, as well as a complete odometer survey of the state conducted between 1855 and 1860. The contour lines were drawn by the geologist Warren Upham (1850-1934)….


“Although this map, published in June 1877, appears to be identical to the maps in the atlas, it is subtly different, at least in its treatment of hiking trails….  This was not the first contour map of the White Mountains; that distinction belongs to ‘Map of the White Mt. District Showing Locations of Specimens and Contour Lines for Each 500 ft above the Sea,’ published in heliotype only slightly earlier in Appalachia, vol. 1, no. 2 (March 1877).  It is more than likely that this this map draws upon the same data upon which Walling based his map….


“Walling’s map was issued to accompany Appalachia vol. 1, no. 3 (June 1877), and it was concurrently sold separately.  It was reissued by Bien in 1881.” (Apt, pp. 12-13)

Henry Frances Walling was arguably the most accomplished and interesting American mapmaker of the mid-late 19th century, in no small part because of his prolific output: Between 1848 and 1888 he produced perhaps 150 large-scale, separately-issued maps of American towns and counties; several seminal state maps; numerous state and county atlases; and many maps for the U.S. Geological Survey. But arguably his greatest impact was as a serial innovator. He helped pioneer new models of partnership between commercial, local, state and Federal mapping enterprises; demonstrated that commercial mapmakers could produce high-quality, low-cost maps by drawing on the work of government scientific agencies; was a leading advocate of applying geodetic survey methods and tools to local and regional surveys; and catalyzed the first topographical (i.e., three dimensional) survey of an American state.

Apt, Maps of the White Mountains, Map #18. Cobb, Maps of New Hampshire, #364. As of April 2022, OCLC 13633288, 232582111, 74812120 and 999543386 together locate 9 or 10 institutional holdings of the 1881 map. Not in Phillips, List of Maps of America, though LC holds an example of the 1881 edition.