E.M. Woodford wall map of Stockbridge and West Stockbridge, Massachusetts (1855)

E[dgar] M[aurice] Woodford, C[ivil] E[ngineer] / E. Herrlein’s Lithography / Wagner & McGuigan, PLAN OF THE TOWNS OF STOCKBRIDGE AND WESTSTOCKBRIDGE BERKSHIRE COUNTY MASSACHUSETTS. Philadelphia: Richard Clark, 1855.
Lithograph on two sheets joined, 39”h x 48 ¼”w plus margins, original wash and outline color retouched. Lined on verso. Varnish coating and linen backing removed, with residual cracking, soiling and small areas of loss (largely to margins) reinstated by leaf casting. Dowels perished.

A rare, lovely and informative 1855 wall map of the towns of Stockbridge and West Stockbridge in the heart of the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts.

The format is typical of the many town maps issued in Philadelphia by collaborators E.M. Woodford and Richard Clark in the mid-1850s: At top is a map of the towns, showing the major topographical features (with elevations shown by hachuring), roads and landowners outside the town centers. Remarkably, the footprints of most buildings are shown. Below the main map are large-scale plans of Stockbridge, Curtisville (a district of Stockbridge near the present-day Stockbridge Bowl), and West Stockbridge, depicting the area in enormous detail. As with the main map, the footprints of individual structures are shown, along with the names of their owners.

Also visible are the recently-arrived lines of the Housatonic and the Stockbridge & Pittsfield Railroads, which made the region accessible to city dwellers and attracted wealthy families who built the grand “cottages” that still dot the central Berkshires. The image is greatly enhanced by dozens of pictorial vignettes of local farms, residences as well as Woodruff’s Blast Furnace in West Stockbridge and Glendale Woollen Mills in Stockbridge (These last come as a surprise to those of us familiar with the area as a bucolic vacation spot.)

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, Lenox and Pittsfield, 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 925600058 (Library of Congress), 557558723 (British Library) and 751896198 (Harvard). Another is held in a private collection in the Midwest. Not in Antique Map Price Record; Phillips, List of Maps of America; or Rumsey.