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An extraordinary map of the Island of Felicity

An extraordinarily rare, interesting and sumptuously decorated allegorical map of the Island of Felicity, produced for one of the first Masonic orders to admit women.  Background The map was designed and printed for l’Ordre de la Félicité. This short-lived Order was a quasi-Masonic secret society established in France in the early 1740s by Louis-Joseph Scipio La […]

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Marvelous allegorical map of love and marriage

The only complete impression known of this charming and extraordinarily rare allegorical map of courtship, love and marriage. This wonderful print examines and maps the human experience of romance, courtship, love and marriage, using an extended allegory to describe the many perils—and occasional pleasures—to be found on “The Great Ocean of Love.” Cartographic allegories of love […]

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19th-century cartographic allegory of Freemasonry

A most unusual allegorical map illustrating core values of Freemasonry. The image depicts the Mason’s heart as a map, with the bible, square and compass symbol at center surrounded by different regions, each exemplifying a core masonic virtue such as charity, benevolence, or humility. The heart is surmounted by an all-seeing eye and compass, and is […]

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1862 allegorical map of the "Way of Good and Evil"

Allegorical map of “ The Way of Good and Evil ”

A rare allegorical map for children, illustrating divergent paths on The Way of Good and Evil and their very different long-term consequences. Decorative touches have been added by an early owner, consisting of floral die cuts affixed to the edges of the image, lending an amusing tone to an otherwise somber piece. Consisting of two […]

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Charming allegorical map on a hand fan

An extremely rare 18th-century hand fan featuring an allegorical map. The map depicts the route of a voyage beginning at “Dark Bay,” crossing “The Great Ocean of Experience,” and terminating at the “Land of Knowledge.” Along the way the voyager passes, among other obstacles, the “Rocks of Obstinacy and Idleness,” the “Coast of Ignorance,” “Dissipation Island,” […]

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By a lady / Lith. of D.W. Kellogg & Co., A Map of THE OPEN COUNTRY OF WOMAN’S HEART, Exhibition its internal communications and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein. Hartford, [1833-1842.]

Allegorical maps of man’s and woman’s heart by D.W. Kellogg

Only the second known pair of these 19th-century allegorical maps contrasting male and female habits of the heart and painting a pessimistic view of the possibility of meaningful love between the sexes. They have been ably described by Nancy Finlay, whom I quote at length: “A Map of the Open Country of Woman’s Heart shows canals, […]

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W[illiam] E[merson] B[aker] / The Forbes Lith. Mfg. Co., THIS PORCINEOGRAPH…. Boston: W.E. Baker, 1876.

The Porcineograph: One nation, under pork

The very rare first edition of the Porcineograph, a triumph of the imagination with a place on my personal “top ten” list. The map unites in one image considerable wit, stunning graphic design, hygienic hog farming, and post-Civil War reconciliation between the Union and Confederacy.   The central map depicts the United States as a […]

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THE MAN OF COMMERCE / A CHART SHOWING The resemblance between the arteries of commerce, as represented by railroads, and the arterial system of man; also, the resemblance between the great vital organs of man and the commercial system of the great lakes. Superior, WI, 1889. F. McKay (mapmaker) / Land & River Improvement Co. (publisher?) / Rand, McNally & Co. (printer)

The Man of Commerce … a fantastic persuasive map of the United States

The Man of Commerce is an amazing and extremely rare persuasive map equating the American transportation network with the form and functions of the human body. Background The First Treaty of La Pointe (1847) between the U.S. Government and the Chippewa tribe opened up the region south and west of Lake Superior to development. Encouraged […]

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George-Christophe Würtz (1756-1823), Mappa Generalis Medicamentorum Simplicium secundum Affinitiates Virium Naturalium dispositorum. Strasburg: Bauer & Treuttel, 1778.

Mapping medications and their effects on the body

A rare and most unusual allegorical map, in which physician George-Christoph Würtz (1756-1823) arranged differing herbal simples according to their natural “affinity,” that is, based on the degree to which each consisted more or less of air, earth, fire (“phlogiston”), or water. The simples are arranged secondarily according to their effects on the human body, […]

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" Map of Man" by Henry Gardiner

“ Map of Man ” … a rare cartographic allegory printed on calico

The ” Map of Man,” an extraordinarily rare example of allegorical cartography offering moral guidance on personal conduct and lifestyle, typifying a distinctive genre of persuasive map making that became especially popular in late 18th-century Britain. Even more unusual for being printed in madder (a purplish red) on a fine calico. Description The map depicts […]

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