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 37


      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.

Publisher Robert Sayer's 1786  "A New Map of North America" by Thomas Pownall is "New" because it illustrates the newly established United States of America according to the terms of the Preliminary Articles of Peace of January 20, 1783, that six months later are finalized by the final Peace Treaty of 1783 that concluded America's Revolutionary War with Great Britain./1  This scarce map presents on two 48" engraved map sheets the political paradigm shift of the American Revolution and the newly agreed upon territorial relationships in North America between the governments of the United Stat

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.

The scene drawn by Edward Savage of Liberty as the Goddess of Youth offering sustenance from her golden goblet to the American Bald Eagle as he descends from backlit clouds captures the moment in American history when the new nation is being born. Drawn in the sky above Liberty and the Bald Eagle, emerging from smoke and clouds is the new American flag with thirteen stars, a cloth liberty cap atop the flagstaff.

This hand drawn student work, signed and dated inside a wreath of floral branches "ROXBURY Free School Febr. 8th, 1800, Abraham S. Fox Scripsit." is both a tribute and a mourning piece to the recently deceased President George Washington a scant six weeks after the President's death.  Abraham S. Fox dedicates this drawing to his teacher "To the Preceptor" in the lower right corner. Perhaps this work was a classroom exercise.

            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:

This scarce, early 19th century engraving shows the naval battle at Plattsburgh, New York in 1814, the concluding and decisive American naval victory of the War of 1812 between America and Britain. The battle was momentous. Lake Champlain offered the British Navy a potential naval gateway from Canada into America. Lake Champlain would have provided the British Navy with water access via a short portage to Lake George and further south via the Champlain Canal to the Hudson River.

 This Album is a six year slice of life along the Connecticut River only 50 years after the American Revolution that reflects contact with America's foremost institutions, America's early 19th c. intellectual activists, educators, abolitionists, free thinkers, and artists  - including the deaf painter Augustus Fuller, Catherine E. Beecher, Thomas Gallaudet, religious thinkers and relationships in the personal life of Gratia Denny, an extraordinary individual.

This hand drawn map is signed "Phebe Varney, 1830. Dover Duchess County" on the front. The title of the map is "Africa". The map is hand drawn on thick paper with colored inks and possibly a fine brush. The thickness and opacity of the paper would not have permitted easy tracing and therefore it is most likely the author of the map drew it freehand, perhaps using a grid system  (or longitude and latitude lines) to scale up or down a published map or set of maps of Africa. The map appears to be unique.

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.

Portraits of the eleven U.S. Presidents as of 1846, the insignia of the current 29 states, including Iowa admitted December 28, 1846, Florida on March 3, 1845 and Texas on December 29, 1845. This is a full color lithograph that also presents George Washington at the top and center of the composition framed with a green olive wreath and overseeing a fierce American Bald Eagle who sits astride both the draped flags of the Union on poles decorated with gold braid and tassel, and a large red, white and blue shield bearing the insignia of the 29 admitted states.

            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.