James Wheat and Christian Brun’s “Maps and Charts Published in America Before 1800,” commonly known as “Wheat & Brun,” is one of the great bibliographies of American maps.  Wheat & Brun attempt to “describe the entire known cartographical contribution of the American press prior to 1800.” Nor do they limit themselves to the relatively small number of separately-published maps; indeed, they attempt to describe maps used as “illustrations in books and pamphlets and from all other sources such as atlases, gazetteers, almanacs, and magazines.”

Each entry provides, where possible, information about the mapmaker, publisher, date of publication, and size of the map, as well as information about the circumstances of publication (e.g., separate issue vs. atlas) and occasionally interesting advertisements and related material culled from the period press.  Where a map exists in multiple editions or states, an attempt is made to treat each variant separately.  In short, Wheat & Brun, which is not currently available on line, is an essential reference tool for anyone with a collecting or scholarly interest in early American maps.



36 results, ordered by Publication Date

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1793 Jonathan Williams chart of Gulf Stream

An 18th-century Gulf Stream chart, with a Ben Franklin connection

A scarce and interesting 1793 chart depicting the Gulf Stream, as well as thermometric observations of the Atlantic made on several trans-Atlantic voyages by Jonathan Williams, Jr. A grand-nephew of Benjamin Franklin, Williams (1750-1815) served as his personal secretary during Franklin’s time as American agent in England in the early 1770s and as ambassador to […]

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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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Rare chart of the Maine Coast first published in 1791 by John Norman

18th-century chart of the Maine coast by John Norman

A rare chart of the Maine coast from the American Pilot, published in Boston by John Norman and one of the earliest atlases published in the United States. Chart of the Coast of America from Wood Island to Good Harbour was engraved and first published in Boston in 1791 by John Norman, the most notable of that town’s […]

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Chart from New York to Timber Island

John Norman’s 1791 Chart from New York to Timber Island

A rare American chart of the waters off Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Chart from New York to Timber Island Including Nantucket Shoals was engraved and first published in 1791 by John Norman, Boston’s most notable post-war map engraver.  It is usually found in Norman’s American Pilot, one of the earliest atlases published in […]

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No longer available

An 18th-century Gulf Stream chart, with a Ben Franklin connection

An interesting chart depicting the Gulf Stream and thermometric observations of the Atlantic made by American Jonathan Williams, Jr. Williams (1750-1815) was a grand-nephew of Benjamin Franklin and was his personal secretary during the latter’s service as American agent in England in the early 1770s and ambassador to France during the Revolution. He later served […]

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The first American canal map

A seminal map of road and canal routes linking the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. This scarce and unusual map depicts southeastern Pennsylvania, the upper Del-Mar-Va Peninsula, and part of Maryland. The map emphasizes the area’s extensive network of waterways and the locations of major towns and settlements. Solid lines indicate three proposed canal routes between […]

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Rare and important 18th-century plan of New York City

The earliest known state of the first large-format plan of New York City published after the American Revolution. Extraordinarily rare and all-but undescribed in the bibliographic literature. The plan depicts depicting a city fully recovered from the depredations of the Revolution and beginning the explosive growth that made it the commercial capital of the world. Comparison […]

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