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 61 - 76 of 76


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 1861 Colton pocket map of the State of Virginia is a rare pocket map that shows the State of Virginia in its entirety before the western portion was removed in 1863 for the creation of the state of West Virginia. There are two black and white inset maps: one of Richmond, Henrico Co., Manchester and Springhill, Chesterfield Co. and the other of Norfolk, Portsmouth and Gosport. The Explanations Key on the map shows the symbols for railroads, Common roads, canals, the State Capitol at Richmond, counties, towns, village post offices and depots.

This image rich wall map is an example of pictorial, political and decorative mapmaking. Consisting of two, large joined panels, this wall map functions at several levels. The first is as a detailed, colored map of the continental United States. The second is as a historic and patriotic engraving in the bottom panel  that shows the July 4, 1776 Signing of the Declaration of Independence, alluding to John Trumbull's monumental painting hung in the U.S.

    This Admiralty Survey chart describing  in great detail the coast of China and all of the coast of Formosa is a rare 19th century, engraved, two toned nautical chart representing new surveys that build on the original survey work done by Captains Collinson and Kellett, and Sir Edward Belcher R.N. between 1840-1850 that for their time provided western navies with some of the earliest nautical surveys of the east Coast of China. In Collinson and Kellett's 1845 survey, also engraved by Isaac Purdy and published by H.

   America's West Coast Diego Bay to Cape Mendocino was prepared by the British Admiralty from its original surveys done in 1855, and in this edition updated to Sept. 1865.  The large scale, finely detailed representation of the California coast and islands is done by fine lined engraving, light beacons are hand colored with red with yellow flashes, and the coast is brought to life with scenic vignettes showing the coastline with pictorial perspective that include views from a ship at sea, harbor profiles and island profiles and terrain.

Author (anon.), an American carpenter hired onto the Expedition, sailing on the Bark Clara Bell, January 30, 1865 from New York to Siberia and returning safely November 12, 1867 to his home on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.  He does not sign his book.

Manuscript text and illustrations, primarily in pencil

Manuscript pagination pp.1-119 (outbound), pp.1-23 (return) with manuscript table of contents.

Highlights of 19th c. Manuscript Illustrations:

Alexander Hesler (1823 – 1895), the American photographer based in Chicago, Illinois took this photograph of Abraham Lincoln when he was a candidate for President of the United States.   Hesler had Lincoln sit for this portrait in Hesler's Chicago studio in 1860.

This New and Correct Map of the Northern Pacific Railroad is the Fall, 1883, November edition of the map that announces the completion by the Northern Pacific Railroad of the first northern transcontinental route from St. Paul, Minnesota through the northwestern territories to Portland, Oregon. The final spike ceremony for the line had been held on September 8, 1883 in Gold Creek, Montana with more work yet to be done.

            Warner's Safe Cure Prize Map of the United States and Canada is at once a feat of detailed 19th century cartography that in Rand McNally's own words shows a "clearness of outline and beauty of execution" and notably one of the first 19th century maps to show an image of The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.

This scarce1/  Map Showing Routes of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company for the 1889 summer tourist season covers San Diego in Southern California and as far  north beyond British Possessions to Glacier Bay and Chilcat in Alaska. The map's title block is a vignette showing a large passenger and freight steamship at the pier in Alaska's Thousand Islands with the subtitle "Seen From Sitka". Passengers congregate at the pier and freight is piled ready to be loaded as smoke billows from the two stacks on board, the view northwest out to the Pacific Ocean.

Mixed Pickles, an illustrated children's story book whose jar shaped cover shows wide eyed children's faces of those bottled in a pickle jar,  is a "novelty"  story book cut out in the shape of a pickle jar. The front cover shows the heads of the many children, the mixed pickles, inside the jar. The back cover is plain and contains only the book design No. 1071 and the publisher's information.  One author's name appears with the last story and that is R.K Mounsey.

      This colorful bird's eye view of the New England coast from Boston Harbor to Portland, Maine shows the various kinds of train and steamship line connections for summer tourists wishing to reach their vacation  destinations in Maine. The map key explains that the transit routes are for the Atlantic Shore Line Railway, a Maine electric street car of sorts, the steam railway line of the B&M R.R. and the Southern Maine Steamship Line with connections to the Atlantic Shore Line Railway.

      This exceptionally colorful bird's eye view of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire was published in 1903 for travelers on the Boston and Maine Railroad who were headed to Lake Winnipesaukee for vacation. Numbers on the map identify specific locations of interest to a traveler and correspond to a key requiring three columns of place names that identifies the area's numerous mountains and islands. The map is double sided. On the reverse are photographs of local sites of interests for the tourist as well as 23 small pages of text.

This bird's eye view of the Charles River, while an unaccustomed one to land based human experience of the Charles River as a boating or walking environment, is perhaps the most perceptive artistic rendering of this water body that twists and turns its way through the Massachusetts landscape. The Charles River may be understood visually from reading this map as a continuous land form.

This scarce 1921 technical and decorative broadside by typeface designer Frederic Goudy in collaboration with Bertha M. Goudy his wife illustrates Goudy's new font and typeface design as well as ten years of his type design from 1911-1921 uniquely, as Goudy writes "the work of one man". Goudy's work received immediate professional review in the trade. The work illustrated in this first broadside by Goudy added to his reputation as one of America's foremost typeface designers.

This historic set of four WWII U.S. Army, 79th Infantry Division pictorial maps was published by the U.S. 79th Infantry Division and presents the wartime campaign, hardships and accomplishments of the 79th Infantry from its landing at Utah Beach on 14 June, 1944, through France and Belgium and ultimately into Germany's industrial Ruhr Valley prior to and following the May 8, 1945 declaration of Allied victory over Nazi Germany. These illustrated maps were drawn by two artists, both likely in the Division, Steve Kaliher and Harry D.