1863 Johnson Map of New York City and Brooklyn
Description: This is a fine hand colored map of New York City and Brooklyn dating to 1863 by Johnson and Ward. This map represents the first state of the Johnson and Ward map of New York City. Prior editions of the Johnson atlas (1860 & 1861), including the Johnson and Browning editions, did not contain a New York City plan. It was first issued in 1862 and remained unchanged in the 1863 edition. This particular map was most likely based upon the third state of the Colton New York City map.
It depicts the island of Manhattan and the borough of Brooklyn as well as parts of Jersey City and Hoboken. Central park is shown in great detail and in and earlier incarnation than we know today with the lakes in the southern portion of the park being somewhat vaguely displayed. In the central part of the Park we find the Old Reservoir which is today's Great Lawn. The important ferries running between New York, the boroughs, and New Jersey, are all noted. In Queens we can see the newly built Long Island Railroad leaving Flushing station. At the tip of Roosevelt Island where now stands a decrepit ruin, there is a civil war hospital.
Features the strapwork style border common to Johnson's atlas work from 1860 to 1863. Published by A. J. Johnson and Ward as plate nos. 29-30 in the scarce 1863 edition of Johnson's Family Atlas. This is the second edition of Johnson's atlas to bear the 'Johnson and Ward' imprint.
Date: 1863 (undated)
Source: Johnson and Ward, Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas, (1863 edition).
References: Rumsey 0352.022 (1864 edition). Philips (Atlases) 843. Haskell, D., Manhattan Maps: A Co-operative List, 1119.
Cartographer: Alvin Jewett Johnson (September 23, 1827 - April 22, 1884) was a prolific American map publisher active from 1856 to the mid-1880s. Johnson was born into a poor family in Wallingford, Vermont where he received only a based public education. He is known to have worked as school teacher for several years before moving to Richmond, Virginia. Johnson got his first taste of the map business and a salesman and book canvasser for J. H. Colton and company. The earliest Johnson maps were published with D. Griffing Johnson (no clear relation) and date to the mid-1850s, however it was not until 1860 that the Johnson firm published its first significant work, the Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas. The publication of the Family Atlas followed a somewhat mysterious 1859 deal with the well-established but financially strapped J. H. Colton cartographic publishing firm. Although map historian Water Ristow speculates that Colton sold his copyrights to Johnson and his business partner, another Vermonter named Ross C. Browning (1832 - 1899), a more likely theory is that Johnson and Browning financially supported the Colton firm in exchange for the right to use Colton's existing copyrighted map plates. Regardless of which scenario actually occurred it is indisputable that the first Johnson atlas maps were mostly reissues of earlier Colton maps. Early on Johnson described his firm as the "Successors to J. H. Colton and Company". Johnson's business strategy involved transferring the original Colton steel plate engravings to cheaper lithographic stones, allowing his firm to produce more maps at a lower price point. In 1861, following the outbreak of the American Civil War the Johnson and Browning firm moved their office from Richmond, Virginia to New York City. Johnson and Browning published two editions of the Johnson Atlas in 1860 and 1861. Sometime in 1861 Browning's portion of the firm was purchased by Benjamin P. Ward, whose name subsequently replaced Browning's on the imprint. The 1863 issue of the Family Atlas was one of the most unusual, it being a compilation of older Johnson and Browning maps, updated 1862 Johnson and Ward map issues, and newer 1863 maps with a revised border design. The 1864 issue of the Family Atlas is the first true Johnson and Ward atlas. Johnson published one more edition of the atlas in partnership with Ward in 1865, after which Johnson seems to have bought out Ward's share the firm. The next issue of the Atlas, 1866, is the first purely "Johnson" atlas with all new map plates, updated imprints, and copyrights. The Family Atlas went through roughly 27 years of publication, from 1860 to 1887, outliving Johnson himself who died in 1884. Johnson maps from the Family Atlas are notable for their unique borders, of which there are four different designs, the "strapwork borer" from 1860 to 1863, the "fretwork border" from 1863 to 1869 and the "spirograph border" in 1870 – 1882, and a more elaborate version of the same from 1880-1887. In addition to the Family Atlas Johnson issued numerous wall maps, pocket maps, and in the 1880s the Cyclopedia. Johnson maps are known for their size, accuracy, detail, and stunning, vivid hand coloring. Johnson maps, purely American in their style and execution, chronicle some of the most important and periods in American history including the Civil War, the Westward Expansion, and the Indian Wars. Today Johnson's maps, especially those of the American west, are highly sought after by map collectors and historians. Click here for a list of rare maps by A. J. Johnson.
Size: Printed area measures 25 x 17 inches (63.5 x 43.18 centimeters)
Scale: 1 : 20000
Condition: Very good. Minor wear and verso repair along original centerfold. Minor spotting at places. Text on verso.
Code: NewYorkCity-johnson-1863 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)
Tags: Johnson , City Plan , Manhattan , Brooklyn