1669 Pierre du Val geographic playing cards

Uncut sheet of 17th-century geographic playing cards

A complete and uncut sheet of 17th-century geographic playing cards published in Paris by Pierre du Val likely for educational use. The game includes 52 cards arranged in the usual four suits, each dedicated to a continent: hearts to Europe, diamonds to Asia, spades to Africa, and clubs to the Americas. Each card features a […]

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William Charles Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians

Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians, by William Charles

A scarce, striking and trenchant War of 1812 political cartoon by William Charles mocking the citizens of Alexandria for their feeble defense against “Johnny Bull” during the 1814 Chesapeake campaign. Charles depicts Great Britain as a bipedal bull in sailor’s garb, wielding a saber in one “hand” and “Terms of Capitulation” in the other. To […]

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Edwin Whitefield wreck of the Swallow 1845

Edwin Whitefield drawing of the wreck of the Swallow

Unrecorded drawing of the 1845 wreck of the Swallow at Athens, New York, by noted American artist Edwin Whitefield. The Swallow, first of the so-called Hudson River Fliers, was launched in 1835 in Brooklyn. She was 233 feet long (later extended to 256 feet), with a vertical beam engine and two boilers driving 24-foot paddlewheels […]

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1871 A Statement of the Rights, Franchises And Advantages of the Louisiana and Texas Canal Company

A massive land grab by the Louisiana and Texas Canal Company?

A rare pamphlet relating to the prospective construction of the so-called Louisiana and Texas Steamboat Canal, issued to publicize the promoter’s legal right to the millions of acres of land involved. Including a fine map of the area. On April 4th, 1865 the Louisiana legislature passed Act 52, to enable the principals of the subsequently […]

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Clara O’Neil, [Hand-drawn physical atlas including 27 maps and plans and 18 astronomical and geological diagrams.] St. Leonards-on-Sea (Hastings), East Sussex, England, 1876.

Superb manuscript physical atlas, by a British convent student

An especially lovely 19th-century manuscript physical atlas by a young woman at an English convent school, strikingly detailed and rendered with precision and sensitivity in the choice of watercolors. In the 19th century map copying was an important educational method at the primary level, seen as valuable both for the development of geographic knowledge as well […]

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Mary Ronin's 1958 pictorial map celebrating American diversity

Pictorial map celebrating American diversity

A colorful and upbeat pictorial map of the United States celebrating the “great diversity in its land and its people.” Published by the Department of State for the United States pavilion at the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, better known as Expo 58. I quote at length from P.J. Mode’s description of the map on […]

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