Map of Massachusetts, Rhode Island & Connecticut, 1837

Map of Massachusetts, Rhode Island & Connecticut Compiled From the Latest Authorities, 1837
J. Wells, Engraver
Middletown CT., Boston, N.York & Providence
Middletown CT., Boston, N.York & Providence
Middletown CT., Boston, N.York & Providence
hand colored lithograph
Unrestored original condition
wall map is in original, untouched condition, light original varnish, bright hand painted original colors, paper barely toned; professional removal of old linen, rebacking with new linen, new silk edges, attached to original wood rods.
61 × 83 cm
Sale Status: 
For Sale

This rare, 1837 edition of the Map of Massachusetts, Rhode Island & Connecticut maps each of these New England states by county outlined in red, town or city in contrasting colors and locates the numerous large factories in operation in these three New England states in the early phase of America's rapid industrialization. Although New York is not shown on the map, New York city is. The map states at the top just below "New Hampshire", "this Map in addition to the information usually found on the best Maps, contains the Factories, Churches, Academies, Banks. There are 1244 factories." Churches are counted with a total of 1560, identified by denomination, primarily Protestant, possibly some Catholic and 42 "others". The composition of the map has visual interest from both the decorative yellow border and the decorative motifs in each corner, the variously shaped framed vignettes that surround the central map of the title and three medallions  (the state seals of the states in the map title) in a pyramid arrangement that visually support the map's title. Highly decorative, fine linear flourishes surround the title, and create a visual allusion to the waters of  Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

The theme of industrialization is expressed in a large set of detailed, large scale inset maps of New England cities with factories,  the greatest number of which lie in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The larger inset maps are labeled and framed with a colored border, their irregular geometric shapes packed tightly around the primary map and creating a lively composition. The inset maps in Massachusetts are of Boston, Fall River, Canton Factories, Salem and North Adams Factories.  On the map, the large, detailed inset maps of Rhode Island are Providence, Warwick & Coventry Factories, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket Falls & Factories. In Connecticut, the inset maps are of New Britain, New Haven, Norwich and Factories.  There is also a detailed inset map of  New York City. As the map and inset maps make apparent, water power and access to water were essential for distributing the great number and variety of goods from this factory production. Turnpikes and canals, including the canal between Providence and Worcester and ports on the Atlantic Ocean provided transit routes, both local, regional and international.

The map's calling out of the number of churches counted and shown on the map goes hand in hand with the locating of factories. Growing immigration from Europe to these American cities provided much of the labor for the factories as did the migration from rural American towns of young men and women to these growing cities. Church parishes and new church building followed. The presence of academies reflected the high value placed on education in the young America and new found affluence for supporting both public and private academies. The identification of Banks as a feature on the map is somewhat novel for this era, and also stands for the growing monetary wealth generated by factory production.

The map can be found at Harvard University and at the Leventhal Map Center of the Boston Public Library.

Item Type Taxonomy: 
Geographic Scope: 
The Back Room
Published Location Freeform: 
Middletown CT., Boston, N.York & Providence