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BRM1315 Carleton Mass 1802_cartouche“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.



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A landmark in the mapping of Maine

An essential Maine map. Description This monumental map depicts Maine at a scale of 2.5 miles to the inch. The very large scale enables the map to provide much detail of the intricate coastline and complex system of rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, though surprisingly little attention is paid to its many mountainous areas. The […]

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Exceptionally rare map of Maine by John Norman

Exceptionally rare map of Maine by John Norman

An early, valuable and exceptionally rare map of Maine while still the “Eastern District” of Massachusetts, with the ownership inscription of renowned Maine mapmaker Moses Greenleaf. The map by John Norman of Boston is a reduced edition of An Accurate Map of the District of Maine, which had been compiled by Osgood Carleton, engraved by […]

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Osgood Carleton, AN ACCURATE MAP, of The DISTRICT OF MAINE Being Part of the Commonwealth of MASSACHUSETTS: Compiled pursuant to an Act of the GENERAL COURT, From Actual Surveys of the several Towns &c. TAKEN BY THEIR ORDER: Exhibiting, the boundary Lines of the District the Counties and Towns, the principal Roads, Rivers, Mountains, Mines, Islands, Rocks, Shoals, Channels, Lakes, Ponds, Falls, Mills, Manufactures, and Public Buildings, with the Latitudes and Longitudes &c. Boston: Published and Sold by O. Carleton & J. Norman, [1798.]

Osgood Carleton’s 1798 Accurate Map of the District of Maine

A great rarity, Osgood Carleton’s Accurate Map of the District of Maine is among the most desirable early Maine maps, the most detailed to appear in the eighteenth century, and one of the earliest maps sponsored by an American state. Carleton’s map depicts the then-District of Maine at a scale of six miles to the […]

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Osgood Carleton 1796 plan of Boston

1796 plan of Boston by Osgood Carleton

A rare and detailed plan of Boston by Osgood Carleton, taken from the 1796 second edition of John West’s Boston Directory. This plan’s relatively large scale enables it to depict Boston in greater detail than any map of the town since before the American Revolution. The street layout is shown and all streets named, as […]

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Osgood Carleton, A New Map of the UNITED STATES, OF AMERICA Including part of Louisiana Drawn from the latest Authorities Revised and corrected by OSGOOD CARLETON. Esqr. Teacher of Mathematics BOSTON. Boston: John Sullivan Junr., 1806.

Monumental wall map of the United States by Osgood Carleton

A monumental wall map of the United States by Osgood Carleton, much enlarged and greatly updated to reflect political developments and advances in geographic knowledge. A great rarity, known in only 10 or 11 examples, most in American institutions. The map Carleton’s first attempt at a wall map of the country appeared in 1791 as […]

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[After Osgood Carleton], A PLAN OF BOSTON, from actual Survey; by Osgood Carleton. 1796. [Boston, end 18th century?]

Late 18th-century manuscript plan of Boston, after Osgood Carleton

An early manuscript plan of Boston, based on Osgood Carleton’s 1796 plan of the city and perhaps rendered by a Boston-area schoolboy or schoolgirl. Carleton’s plan, and this carefully-rendered copy, depicted Boston in greater detail than any map of the town since the American Revolution. The street layout is shown and all streets named, as […]

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John Norman, A New Map of the District of Maine. Taken From the Original Map Compiled by Osgood Carleton Esqr. From the Actual Surveys that were made by an Act of the General Court With Additions Corrections & Improvements. Boston: Published & Sold by J. Norman Engraver, [1799?]

An exceptionally rare 1801 map of Maine by John Norman and Osgood Carleton

An early, intriguing and exceptionally rare map of pre-statehood Maine by John Norman and Osgood Carleton, two of the greatest and most prolific American mapmakers of the early Republican era. The map is a reduced edition of An Accurate Map of the District of Maine, which had been compiled by Osgood Carleton, engraved by Norman, […]

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Landmark Osgood Carleton map of Massachusetts

The Osgood Carleton “Map of Massachusetts,” the first official state map and a vast improvement over any earlier effort. Description A very nice copy of the second edition of the first official map of the State of Massachusetts. Based largely on new surveys, it depicts the state with the surveyed boundaries of counties and towns; […]

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