Rare and important 18th-century plan of New York City

J[ohn] A[nderson] (mapmaker) / P[eter] R[ushton] Maverick (engraver), PLAN of the CITY of NEW YORK. 65 Liberty St., New York, [ca. May 1796].
Engraving, 15"h x 21.5"w plus title and margins, uncolored
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The earliest known state of the first large-format plan of New York City published after the American Revolution. Extraordinarily rare and all-but undescribed in the bibliographic literature.

The plan depicts depicting a city fully recovered from the depredations of the Revolution and beginning the explosive growth that made it the commercial capital of the world. Comparison with earlier plans reveals the rapid development of the city in the post-war years: the boundaries of the city’s seven wards have been reorganized; the old Anglo-Dutch fort at the Battery razed and replaced with Government House; Broadway extended and Greenwich Street completed; the huge De Lancey and Rutgers estates (either side of Bowery Lane, and east of Catharine Street, respectively) surveyed in anticipation of development; and numerous public buildings, churches, markets and wharves constructed. Beyond modern-day Broome and Montgomery Streets dotted lines indicate the beginnings of work to extend the street grid further into what had been the old Stuyvesant Farm and became Bowery Village. The very western tip of Long Island is seen at lower right, linked to Manhattan by ferries to the Fly Market, Ferry Street and Catherine Street. A table at upper left identifies 43 landmarks including government buildings, churches, markets, and even “Bakers Tamony Museum” established by the (Jeffersonian) Republican-leaning Tammany Society.

The only post-war plans of the city pre-dating this plan appeared in editions of The New-York Directory and Register beginning in 1789. These were modest in size, less detailed, more crudely engraved, and showed the city at an earlier stage of development.

Peter Rushton Maverick (1755-1811) was the patriarch of a family of New York engravers. His son Peter Maverick engraved among other things the seminal Mangin-Goerck (1803) and Bridges (1811) plans of the city. The “J.A.” identified as the mapmaker was John Anderson, Jr. (?-1798), a lawyer, artist, the brother of New York engraver Alexander Anderson (1775-1870) and a close friend of author Washington Irving. The map is mentioned in John’s diary, which covers the period from 1794 to around the time of his death from yellow fever in September, 1798 and is held at the New York Historical Society and. According to this record, on April 21, 1796 he “began to draw a plan of the city for Mr. Longworth.” He notes that on May 3rd Longworth took delivery of the plan, for which Anderson charged him the sum of eight dollars. This writer has found no other record of Anderson’s involvement in mapmaking, and how and why Longworth approached him remains unclear.

On May 9th, 1796 the following announcement appeared in the New York Daily Advertiser: “A large plan of the city of New York, is now engraving for Longworth’s American Almanac and NEW-YORK DIRECTORY. Subscriptions for a few copies of said Plan separate from the Directory, price only four shillings, will be received by the Editor No. 66, Nassau Street.” (p.3) Though the title page of the Almanac accordingly advertises that it is “embellished with an accurate Map of the City,” the plan may never have been bound in; according to Wheat & Brun #391 and 395 “no copy [of the Almanac] is known with the map.”

Known states of the plan
The plan was revised and reissued at least four times, with successive revisions reflecting the rapid development of the city and bearing the added imprint “Drawn and Engrav’d for D. LONGWORTH Map & Print Seller.” The last known state is dated May, 1808. The sequence appears to be as follows, though it is possible there are additional states not identified by this writer:

1. No date (but June 1795-1796), 43 references in table at upper left, no Longworth imprint (Probably Haskell, Manhattan Maps, #630, possibly Wheat & Brun #391. The example offered here.)

2. No date (but May 1796 or later), 45 references, Longworth imprint added (Probably Haskell #631 and Stauffer and Fielding, American Engravers, #1047.  Click here to view an example at the NYPL.)

3. Dated May 1803, 52 references (Click here to view an example at the NYPL.)

4. Dated May 1804, 61 references (Arkway Catalog #39, item 30, incorrectly described as “third state.”)

5. Dated May 1808, 61 references (Haskell #632. Click here to view an example at the NYPL.)

Based on a review of Haskell’s Manhattan Maps and OCLC, it seems that there are in aggregate perhaps 10-15 institutional examples of the various states of the map. However the only other confirmed example of our earliest state is one recently acquired by the Map Division of the New York Public Library. Another example of the first state, alleged by Haskell #630 to reside at the New York Historical Society, is either a phantom or was deaccessioned many decades ago (It is listed neither in Wheat and Brun nor in the NYHS’ old card catalog of maps, comprehensive map database or on-line catalog.) The plan is very rare in all states goes unnoticed in most of the standard references.

References and rarity
Haskell, Manhattan Maps, #630 (listing only the “phantom” example at the New York Historical Society.Wheat & Brun, #391 (listing no institutional holdings). Not in Augustyn & Cohen, Manhattan in Maps; Phillips, A List of Maps of America; Ristow, American Maps and Makers; Rumsey; Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island; and Stokes & Haskell, American Historical Prints. Antique Map Price Record lists only an example of the 4th state, offered for sale in 1992 by the firm of Arkway. This writer has learned of three others examples having appeared on the market in the past decade, one each of the 1st, 2nd state and 4th states.

Many thanks to Jane R. Pomeroy, author of Alexander Anderson, 1775-1870, Wood Engraver and Illustrator, for bringing the John Anderson diary to this writer’s attention.

Condition

Toned, somewhat soiled, some cracks reinforced on verso. Small areas of loss primarily affecting margins and lower corner of neatline. Lined with tissue. In all an acceptable example of a very rare map.