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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

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

A dramatic and very scarce image, produced during the Revolution by an important Boston engraver. The plan depicts all of Boston and Charlestown, with the Battle of Bunker Hill at its height. Charleston is in flames, the British are advancing on the American redoubt and the famous “rail fence,” and a British squadron in the Charles […]

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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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18th-century map of the New York Military Tract

18th-century map of the New York Military Tract

A great rarity, being the first printed map of the New York Military Tract, established during the Revolution to provide compensation to the state’s veterans of the Revolutionary War.  The Military Tract, also called the New Military Tract, consisted of roughly two million acres in what is now known as the Finger Lakes Region, set aside […]

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1798 plan of Alexandria Virginia

George Gilpin’s 1798 map of Alexandria Virginia

A scarce and attractive restrike of George Gilpin’s important and phenomenally rare 1798 plan of Alexandria Virginia. Gilpin’s plan depicts Alexandria Virginia at a period of rapid growth, when, as the lone port of entry on the Potomac, it was one of the country’s busiest ports. The simple gridded street plan is shown with street names […]

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A landmark New Jersey map, engraved in Colonial Boston

A landmark map of northern New Jersey and a desirable example of early Colonial engraving and printing. This map was one of three to appear in the 1747 Bill in the Chancery of New Jersey, a vital document reflecting long-standing land disputes of colonial New Jersey. An invaluable review of Colonial New Jersey land ownership […]

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Rare American battle plan of the first conquest of Louisbourg

A rare plan of the 1745 siege of the fortress of Louisbourg, cut in Boston by James Turner and published in one of the earliest American news magazines. All the more remarkable for having been issued less than a month after the French surrender. The massive French fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island was […]

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