Leavitt’s pictorial map of the White Mountains

Victor [and Franklin] Leavitt, LEAVITT'S MAP WITH VIEWS OF THE WHITE MOUNTAINS NEW HAMPSHIRE., Lancaster, NH, 1882.
Wood engraving, 20.25"h x 30"w plus wide margins, uncolored
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A wonderful and scarce pictorial map of the White Mountains.

The map depicts the region from Lake Winnipesaukee in the south to Berlin in the north, and from eastern Vermont over to Conway. The central image of the White Mountains is complemented by profile views of dozens of residences and hotels, vignettes of historical and legendary events (many involving the violent death of large mammals), and in the corners four views of well-known waterfalls. Though crude in execution and unburdened by considerations of scale or orientation, the detailed depiction of the roads, railways and many hotels and resorts would have made it reasonably useful to casual visitorsÂ… but terribly dangerous to anyone using it as a guide to the back country.

This map is the last in a long series of White Mountains maps issued by Franklin Leavitt and then his son Victor over a period of almost 40 years. During this period the transmission of the Romantic ethos across the Atlantic, the rise of a middle class with disposable income, the development of (relatively) rapid rail links to the coast, and well-timed works of literature such as Willey’s Incidents in White Mountain History (1856) transformed the region into a major destination for tourists and artists. The Leavitt maps, with their distinctive blend of information and decorative elements, were designed to cater to this growing market. Though stylistically similar, each was cut from an entirely new block.

This map was designed by Franklin Leavitt, but was purchased and published by his son Victor. Printed on very thin paper, it was presumably intended to be folded, tipped into wraps and distributed to tourists. The present example has never been folded and is a remarkable survival in this condition.

References
David Cobb, New Hampshire Maps to 1900, #425. David Tatham, “Franklin Leavitt’s Pictorial Maps of the White Mountains,” in Georgia Barnhill, ed., Prints of New England, p. 105-134 (fig. 6.13).

Condition

Old folds with some reinforced separations, upper right corner of margin reinstated, and backed with tissue. Withal, a clean and attractive example of a map usually found with substantial condition problems.