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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.



37 results, ordered by Publication Date

Items Available for purchase

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 […]

$4,500
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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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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 […]

$2,200
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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 […]

$12,500
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The Pennsylvania Magazine, with a rare map of the “Great Warpath”

The Pennsylvania Magazine was the sole periodical published in the America during the Revolution, appearing monthly between January 1775 and July 1776. Edited for much of its run by Thomas Paine, it had a truly American character, including literary and philosophical essays, book reviews, scientific and technical articles, and of course the latest news of military […]

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John Churchman, THE MAGNETIC ATLAS, OR VARIATION CHARTS OF THE WHOLE TERRAQUEOUS GLOVE: COMPRISING A SYSTEM OF THE VARIATION & DIP OF THE NEEDLE, BY WHICH THE OBSERVATIONS BEING TRULY MADE, The Longitude MAY BE ASCERTAINED. THE THIRD EDITION WITH ADDITIONS. New York: Printed for the Author, and Sold by Gaine & Ten Eyck, 1800.

John Churchman’s “Magnetic Atlas”

A remarkable and very rare artifact of 18th-century American mapmaking and scientific inquiry. Background John Churchman (1753-1805) was an American mathematician, surveyor and map maker who for many years held the official post of surveyor for Chester, Delaware and parts of Berks and Lancaster Counties, Pennsylvania. He first came to notice for his Map of 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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