U.S. Coast Survey chart of Cape Ann and points North

O. H. Tittman, Superintendent of the Coast Survey, et al., Coast Chart No. 108 / From Wells to Cape Ann. Washington, D.C., 1867 (updated to ca. 1908).
38"h x 30"w plus margins on heavy chart paper, attractive later color

An attractive chart of the waters from Cape Ann, Mass. to Wells, Maine. A trove of information, the chart includes immensely detailed soundings; navigational hazards; and navigational aids such as lighthouses, light ships and bouys. Two finely-engraved coastal profiles of Cape Ann give added appeal.

Also provided is detailed topographical and cartographical information on the adjacent coastal regions, including Cape Ann, Newburyport and Portsmouth. In these areas one can make out minutely-engraved street plans, roads, elevations and even the boundaries of individual land holdings.

This chart was issued on heavy paper designed for hard use at sea. Unlike the thin copies published in Coast Survey reports to Congress, these working charts suffered a high attrition rate and are now uncommon.

The United States Coast Survey
The Coast Survey is the oldest scientific organization in the Federal Government, first established in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson for the benefit of American commerce.

Each Coast Survey chart represents an immense undertaking, integrating data gathered over many years by separate parties focusing on terrestrial topography, triangulation, hydrography, and astronomical and magnetic observations. Charts were repeatedly updated to take advantage of improved measuring technology and to provide updated information on rapidly-changing coastal configurations, hazards, navigation aids &c. For example, the chart offered here is an early 20th-century update of a chart first issued in 1867, and incorporates data gathered over more than 60 years.

Guthorn, United States Coastal Charts provides a history of the Coast Survey and its methods. Far more detailed information may be found in Captain Skip Theberge’s “The Coast Survey 1807-1867,” available on line at http://www.lib.noaa.gov/edocs/CONTENTS.htm.


Very good for its type, with some wrinkling and a couple of faint, small stains. Course marked off in red ink along coast.