Very rare 1854 wall map of Lenox Massachusetts

Surveyed and Drawn by E[dgar] M[aurice] Woodford / E. Herrlein’s Lithography / Printed by Wagner & McGuigan, MAP OF THE TOWN OF LENOX BERKSHIRE CO. MASSACHUSETTS. Philadelphia: Richard Clark, 1854.
Lithograph, 29”h x 30 ¾”w plus margins, original wash and outline color. Some cracking across top, with very slight loss to upper-right vignette. Original varnish removed, with some residual soiling and discoloration. Lined with tissue on verso.

An attractive and richly informative wall map of the town of Lenox Massachusetts in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains, home to Tanglewood, Edith Wharton’s The Mount, Shakespeare & Company, and a host of spectacular Gilded Age summer “cottages”.

Surveyed by E. M. Woodford and published in Richard Clark in Philadelphia in 1854, this was the first printed map of Lenox. Its format is fairly typical of the many town maps issued in the mid-1850s by the Woodford-Clark collaboration:  At left is a map of the town at a scale of 100 rods to the inch (19,800:1), showing the road layout and major topographical features, with elevations shown by hachuring. Below the main map and to its right are large scale (16 rods to the inch) plans of Lenox Village and Lenox Furnace, depicting those areas in enormous detail.

The map’s visual appeal and documentary value are greatly enhanced by seven vignettes of local residences, businesses and public buildings.  Space for these images (with the likely exception of the public buildings) was sold in advance by the publisher’s agents as a means of providing advance finance for the production of the map.  But the map’s greatest contribution lies in its identification by name of hundreds of landowners and residents, as well as the locations of businesses, places of worship and schools and other public buildings. In almost every case the footprints of the individual buildings can be made out.

Woodford and Clark’s map remains one of the best-available resource for understanding the mid-19th century population density and demographics of Lenox, and was only superseded by the County Atlas of Berkshire, Massachusetts published in 1876 by F. W. Beers.

E. M. Woodford (1824-1862) and Richard Clark
Edgar Maurice Woodford was born in West Avon, Connecticut, and as a young man worked as a farmer and surveyor. From 1851-1856, however, he turned his attention to commercial map making and publishing, and during that brief period was involved in the production and/or publication of numerous maps of New England towns and counties. An ardent abolitionist, in 1856 he headed west to do his part in “Bleeding Kansas,” though I’ve not been able to learn how precisely he spent his time there. By this time he was clearly well off, as the 1860 census valued his property at no less than $5000. In 1862 he enlisted in the 7thConnecticut Regiment, and later that year he died while rescuing Union wounded after a battle near Jacksonville, Florida (According to one source, “the violent exertion raised a rupture of a large internal blood vessel.”)

Walter Ristow asserts that Woodford conducted surveys for nine or ten plans of Connecticut towns (American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 388). In addition I am aware of eleven Massachusetts and two New Hampshire (Hanover and Milford) town maps on which he is credited as the surveyor, all in the years 1851-56. Woodford also tried his hand at publishing, and his imprint appears on at least seven maps, including one of Hanover, New Hampshire and six of Maine towns drawn by D.S. Osborn. He was also involved in producing maps of Hartford (1855), Windham (1856) and Tolland (1857) Counties in Connecticut.

From 1851-1855 Richard Clark was very active as a publisher of large-scale town maps, and more than 30 maps of Connecticut and Massachusetts issued during this period bear his imprint (Among these are maps of Great Barrington, Pittsfield and Stockbridge and West Stockbridge, also in Berkshire County.) While the maps issued by Clark were probably less accurate than those by his major competitor Henry F. Walling, they are information rich and far more decorative, typically bearing large-scale inset plans of population centers and numerous pictorial vignettes of local landmarks.

OCLC 189762586 (Harvard) and 1037500010 (Boston Public), as of June 2021. Not in Antique Map Price Record or Phillips, List of Maps of America. A Google search yields no mention of the map.