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. Railroad service was a lifeline for both commerce and personal travel, and therefore accurate railroad maps were essential. In New Hampshire in the 1850's and for several decades thereafter railroad expansion throughout the state provided map publishers with practical reasons for updating their maps.And in the case of Dodge's 1854 first edition, the update occurred within a single calendar year as illustrated by this map.
Dodge's finely detailed map describes the network of train lines serving small New Hampshire towns at a time of substantial expansion of railroad service in New Hampshire and throughout the United States. The map title also explains that town boundaries are shown based on actual surveys. Population figures are given by county in a table. The map illustrates that access to northern New Hampshire land was becoming available by train, permitting new settlers to try their hand at farming New Hampshire's rocky and hilly soil. Commercial logging also relied on railroad service. And the woolen mills depended on reliable train service both to receive supplies and for distribution of finished products. Tourism also grew with the construction of new rail lines that connected to New England cities and New York City. Therefore, this scarce map documents New Hampshire's transition to an industrial economy that served both New England and the rest of the United States.
Decorative features enhance the map further. In each corner is a pictorial vignette. The map also has an intricately designed border.