A scarce and wonderful 1888 pictorial promotional map of the White Mountains by Franklin Leavitt, being the final map produced by him over three decades. By the mid-19th century the transmission of the Romantic ethos across the Atlantic, the rise of a middle class with disposable income, and the development of rapid rail links with […]
By the mid-19th century the White Mountains had become a major tourist destination, attracting artists and adventurers alike. An ecosystem of rail and carriage links, hotels, and guides emerged to serve this growing flood of visitors.
Today one of the best-remembered of these guides is Franklin Leavitt, a Lancaster, New Hampshire “original.” Leavitt produced six charming maps of the White Mountains to cater to the visitors flooding the region. All are wonderful examples of folk cartography, including a lack of consistent scale or orientation, pictorial vignettes–often comic, sometimes unintentionally so–of local landmarks and history, and an emphasis on the exploits of Franklin Leavitt himself. His maps also have a decidedly “persuasive” slant, teasing the viewer with images of the many adventures and perils offered by the region, while reassuring them that at the end of the day they could always retire to one of its many comfortable lodging establishments.