The Back Room

The Back Room presents both Americana and international materials. This inventory is a selection of rare, scarce  and one of a kind materials published in the 18th, 19th and occasionally the 20th century.  The Back Room also includes 19th century American wall maps, an area of special interest.  The Back Room inventory will be updated frequently.

Displaying 1 - 20 of 28


This is the first edition of Chace's Map of Rockingham Co. New Hampshire From Actual Surveys  drawn at a large scale to permit labeling individual homes, stores, factories and other locations of note. Surrounding the perimeter of the map and joined by decorative bands are 13 pictorial vignettes and two tables. There is a large inset map of Portsmouth City (18 ½" x 12") that includes the Kittery Navy Yard and a large inset map of Exeter Village (15 ½" x 10 ¼") as well as smaller inset maps of each town center in Rockingham County.

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) was born a slave in Maryland, escaped to New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1836 and began his career as an abolitionist in 1841 with a speech delivered at an abolitionist convention in Nantucket, Massachusetts.  Douglass' first abolitionist newspaper was The North Star commencing December, 1847 in Rochester, New York.  Between 1851 and 1858 Douglass had editorial control over a larger merged paper. In  1858 Douglass began Douglass' Monthly, a paper concerned exclusively with abolition of slavery in America.

      This rare color engraving by Filippo Morghens (b. 1730) of the Bay of Naples, plate number 38 as printed in the top right corner of the map, is one of a series of views of the Kingdom of Naples by Morghens that was created in his Naples studio in 1772.  Morghens' name appears in the lower right corner of the map. An elaborate decorative cartouche distinguishes the artful map with a figure on one shield, heraldic symbols on the other and a Neapolitan Mastiff in the scene, flanked by an ancient stone pillar bearing Egyptian symbols.

This 18th century map of Maryland is the first published atlas map of the State of Maryland published in America.  The copper plate engraving portrays Maryland's topography, networks of natural waterways (at a level of detail from river to creek to marsh and even a beaver dam), main routes, counties, cities and towns as of 1795.

            This is the first American edition of this scarce work. The first two London editions of this collection of psalms and hymns and the first American Edition, offered here, were with varying success dedicated to the charitable support of the Chapel of the London Lock Hospital, an English institution that opened in 1747 as the first clinic in London dedicated to the medical care of women afflicted by venereal disease.  Later the hospital developed a maternity ward and gynecological services. A Lock Asylum for the Reception of Penitent Female Patients was opened in London in 1792.

             Hon. John Hubbard, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in the University of Dartmouth  (1759-1810) died before publication of his work. The early 19th century copyright notice of this music book explains that the author's heir filed for copyright protection under the new U.S. Constitution's provisions to protect the original works of authors:

A New Map of London And Its Environs, 1829, likely published in late 1830 or  in 1831 based on the  range in the heading of the population chart on the map (1829-1830) is a detailed and historic image of London as a major city in transition from local industry to international trading powerhouse. A myriad of place names are labeled, streets and ways to the smallest route, the Thames and Greenwich Reach to Blackwell Reach and the Isle of Dogs. Factories stand by farmland. Fields and wetlands are delineated graphically. A windmill near the Cricket Grounds is shown.

            The John G. Hales Plan of the Town of Concord, Mass. in the County of Middlesex, 1830 is the first published survey plan of Concord. This particular edition of the 1830 John G. Hales Plan of the Town of Concord, Mass., published by Pendleton's Lithography of Boston, appeared in Lemuel Shattuck's book The History of The Town of Concord...From Its Earliest Settlement to 1832 that was published in 1835.  There is an independently published version of this 1830 map that was also published by Pendleton's Lithography.

            This monumental 1836 engraved survey of the extremity of Cape Cod showing the iconic curve of the Cape as it comes around and encloses Cape Cod Bay took three years and required 9 assistants to Major J.D. Graham U.S. Topographical Engineer in order to complete the work. This is the first government survey of the entire extremity of Cape Cod, that area of Cape Cod Bay and that portion of the Atlantic Ocean. In 1833, when the work was begun, Provincetown was an active maritime harbor and the civilian and military usefulness of this chart was considerable.

In this considerable 1840 undertaking J.W. Norie, Hydrographer published the latest version of his New General Chart of the West Indies and the Coast of America that captures the geography and political identity of what would five years later become the east coast of the American State of Texas.  Florida's southern arm is shown. The commercially important islands of Cuba, Saint Domingo, Bermuda, Porto Rico and what is labeled "Central America" and the north coast of South America are also shown.

This fine, steel engraved map was engraved by J. H. Young (fl. 1817 to 1866) and published by Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792 to 1868) who revised the map for two decades beginning in 1832. The map was published as a folding map to allow a traveler to put the map in his pocket, and take it out as needed to study while planning a trip or en route westward.  The map was one of the most authoritative travel maps during this early period of America's westward expansion. The hand colored map is both decoratively colored and color coded as explained by the map's key.

            This is a scarce version of Nathaniel Currier's lithograph of Major Samuel Ringgold at the moment of mortal injury in battle on May 8, 1846, the first day of battle at Palo Alto, Texas. The battle and Ringgold's injury are reported by Currier as a current event and as patriotic art describing the first major battle of the Mexican American War on American soil. Other pictorial versions of the death of Major Ringgold are in major institutional collections. This version is at the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of the City of New York.

            This rare wall map of Newburyport, Massachusetts is a survey and illustrated view of Newburyport in 1851. The plan of Newburyport is surrounded by vignettes of important homes such as the Old Balch Mansion, Mt. Royal, Residence of Mrs. S.W. Hale and the W.B. Bannister.  Important public buildings and businesses are featured in vignettes including the Town Hall, the J. Currier Jr. Ship Yard that shows workers in a flotilla of small boats at work building a large ship. Carriages bringing guests are pulled up in front of the Merrimack House.

            This rare 1853 wall map of Lexington, Massachusetts, was published in Philadelphia only seventy-seven years after the outbreak of the American Revolution.

            Thomas Fisk's Map of the Town of Dublin N.H., 1853 is one of the earliest if not the first survey map of Dublin, New Hampshire and it is extremely rare. The map's key explains the symbols used by Fisk to describe the lots, landowners, structures and occupants. They are unusual to this map. Dublin is a rural town with one of New Hampshire's iconic mountains, Mount Monadnock and this early map by Fisk provides a mid-19th century portrait of the town.

This rare Colton pocket map New Hampshire, copyright 1854  presents a compact and detailed description of New Hampshire at the beginning of railroad expansion, industrialization and the growth of population in New Hampshire's major cities and regions to the north due to railroad access. To make the point, Colton's map presents county population statistics for 1840 and 1850 to quantify the influx of new inhabitants and the considerable growth of households in New Hampshire.

      This is the scarce 1854 second edition, as noted on the map itself, of  Jacob Dodge's comprehensive  Township and Railroad Map of New Hampshire published locally in Nashua, New Hampshire. The first edition was also published in 1854.  There are several subsequent editions of Dodge's map, including an 1856 edition, plus a "second" 1856 edition leading to some confusion as to the actual chronology of the editions.  Railroad maps were often revised as railroad lines expanded and merged.

This rare wall map of Deerfield, Massachusetts is a detailed 1855 survey of the town and its villages, an architectural portrait of the fine homes, churches and other establishments in town and a Connecticut River Valley vista that captures the dominant profile of the Connecticut River, its tributary the Deerfield River and the surrounding Pocumtuck hills and mountains. The map and inset maps are drawn at two different scales, both of which permit labeling on the respective map each house or building by name.

            A beautiful example of this scarce Massachusetts town map of 1855 prepared by Henry F. Walling as Superintendent of the State Map. A table at the bottom of the map provides essential history and statistics of Fairhaven. There is a large map inset of Fairhaven and Oxford Villages. The different areas of town are indicated with Roman Numerals. The large scale survey permits detailed description of the coastal terrain, of buildings and their owners and of roads and ways.

        This is a rare pocket map of Kentucky four years before the Civil War. The map is a bright color lithograph, with three inset maps: one in black and white of Falls of Ohio River with major cities on either side of the Ohio River  including Louisville, Jeffersonville, the Shipping port Canal, Portland and New Albany; a black and white inset map of Washington, Williamsburg and Clarksburg; and a large color inset map of Lexington in Fayette County with the surrounding counties. A chart on the map lists Steam Boat Routes.