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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, despite its relative age, has withstood the test of time and remains an essential reference tool for anyone with a collecting or scholarly interest in early American maps and charts. It is not currently available online.



39 results, ordered by Publication Date

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Jonathan Williams 1793 chart of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream

An 18th-century Gulf Stream chart by Franklin’s grand-nephew Jonathan Williams

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. A grand-nephew of Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Williams (1750-1815) served as his uncle’s personal secretary during his service as American agent in England in the early 1770s and as ambassador […]

$3,500
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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 […]

$11,500
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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 […]

$15,000
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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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J[ohn] Norman (engraver) / Sayer & Bennett (after), Plan of the Town of Boston, with the ATTACK on BUNKERS-HILL, in the Peninsula of CHARLESTOWN, the 17 th of June, 1775. [Boston, 1781].

John Norman plan of Boston, Charlestown, and the Battle of Bunker Hill

A dramatic 1781 image of Boston, Charlestown and the Battle of Bunker Hill engraved during the Revolutionary War by Boston engraver John Norman, who went on to become one of the most eminent map engravers and –publishers of the early Republic. The plan depicts all of Boston and Charlestown, with the Battle of Bunker Hill at […]

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Samuel Lewis’ landmark map of the Northwest Territory

A landmark map of the United States territory north and west of the Ohio River, with much valuable detail on the progress of Federal land sales, the extension of national boundaries at the expense of the native peoples, and accelerating settlement on the frontier.  Background After independence the public lands north and west of the […]

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