Map of The New York Wilderness and The Adirondacks, 1874

Map of The New York Wilderness and The Adirondacks by W.W. Ely, M.D., 1874
W.W. Ely, Author
New York, 1874
color lithograph
Professionally conserved
professionally conserved, flattened, repair to area lost where map was attached to pocket, verso lined with lightweight Japanese tissue, map pocket present and containing printed advertisement for G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. and pencil notation "1.50", presumably the original map sale price.
28 × 32 inches
Sale Status: 
For Sale

W.W. Ely, a Rochester, New York physician and outdoorsman was an avid hiker and explorer in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. This rare pocket map copyright 1873 and published in 1874 is based on Dr. Ely's decades of hiking and note taking in order to produce a reliable map of the Adirondack Mountains region for visitors. An inset map of the New England states and New York place the millions of acres of the Adirondacks region in context. Dr. Ely's first map, published in 1867 was hailed as the first detailed survey of this mountainous and wild region. This map created in 1873 represents his first major update of the map. Dr. Ely's mapmaking of the Adirondacks laid the foundation for succeeding mapmaking efforts, including those of noted Adirondacks photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard.

The Adirondacks were a destination of artists and writers, who were drawn to the region for its natural beauty and wildness, reasons similar to what drew 19th century artists and writers to New Hampshire's White Mountains. Yet unlike the White Mountains that were avidly mapped in the mid- to late 19th century, the Adirondacks lacked an authoritative and useful map until Dr. Ely's work was published in 1867, with this update in 1874 and a number of revised editions thereafter.  This map is at a large scale and locates streams, rivers and lakes. Mountains are shown in detail as well as trails and terrain. See The Goodsell Museum in Webb, New York as a good starting point for local historical research.

This 1874 edition of Dr. Ely's map is scarce. I have not located this edition in published collections. Rumsey and certain institutional collections show the 1879 edition or those later. Both as an antique map that laid the foundation for Adirondack mapmaking in the latter half of the 19th century and as an exceptional view of the Adirondacks landscape that still awaits the naturalist, explorer or hiker, Dr. Ely's 1874 Map of The New York Wilderness and The Adirondacks is a an important cartographic guide.

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