The 1794 edition of John and William Norman’s famed American Pilot, including important charts of Nantucket by Pinkham and of the Carolinas by Dunbibin. One of the first atlases to be published in the United States, and only the third complete copy on the market since the Streeter sale in the mid 1960s. Background Good […]
“Mathematical practitioner” Osgood Carleton (1724-1816) of Boston is remembered today for his considerable output of important maps of American subjects. Among the best known are seminal maps of Boston, Massachusetts, Maine and the United States, often produced in partnership with Boston engraver and publisher John Norman. Carleton was sufficiently well respected that other mapmakers, such as Norman as well as Matthew Clark, solicited his “seal of approval” on their work.
A classic “hard-luck” story, Osgood Carleton sought to make ends meet by engaging in a wide variety of professional activities involving applied mathematics: “Income and a certain celebrity resulted from his various published endeavors, but teaching and surveying formed the pillars of Carleton’s livelihood. The ledger of his career, like those of many other practitioners, resembles a catalogue of occupations that reflects an enterprise and opportunism born of economic necessity.” (Bosse, p. 143)
The single best summary of Carleton’s life and work may be found in David Bosse’s “ Osgood Carleton: Mathematical Practitioner of Boston,” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 107 (1995), pp. 141-164.