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1866 U.S. Coast Survey Nautical Chart of Map of New York City and Harbor


Coast Chart No. 20, New York Bay and Harbor, New York.
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Title:    Coast Chart No. 20, New York Bay and Harbor, New York.

Description:    A rare 1866 coastal chart of New York City, its harbor, and environs. One of the first 19th century carts to depict New York City as we know it today, including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. Also includes Jersey City, Newark and Hoboken. This is possibly the most advanced chart in this series with far more information than previous editions. In addition to inland details, this chart contains a wealth of practical information for the mariner including notes on oceanic depths, harbor navigation tips, and commentary on important channels. The map also includes tables of light houses and beacons, tides and magnetic declination as well as detailed sailing instructions. The triangulation for this chart was prepared by J. Ferguson and e. Blunt. The topography by H. L. Whiting, S. A. Gilbert, A. M Harrison, F. W. Door, C. Rockwell and J. M e. Chan. The hydrography was accomplished by R. Wainwright and T. A. Craven. The entire production was supervised by A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the Survey of the Coast of the United States and one of the most influential American cartographers of the 19th century.

Date:    1866 (dated)

Source:    Bache, A. D., Report of the Superintendant of the United States Coast Survey, (Washington) 1866.    

References:    Rumsey 5328.000 (1866 edition), 1234.115 (1877 edition); Phillips, 2141; LeGear Atlases of the United States, L2307; Phillips, Philip Lee. A List of Maps of America in the Library of Congress, p. 492.

Cartographer:    The Office of the Coast Survey, founded in 1807 by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of Commerce Albert Gallatin, is the oldest scientific organization in the U.S. Federal Government. Jefferson created the "Survey of the Coast," as it was then called, in response to a need for accurate navigational charts of the new nation's coasts and harbors. The spirit of the Coast Survey was defined by its first two superintendents. The first superintendent of the Coast Survey was Swiss immigrant and West Point mathematics professor Ferdinand Hassler. Under the direction of Hassler, from 1816 to 1843, the ideological and scientific foundations for the Coast Survey were established. These included using the most advanced techniques and most sophisticated equipment as well as an unstinting attention to detail. Hassler's devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were intern subdivided into smaller triangulation units that were then individually surveyed. Employing this exacting technique on such a massive scale had never before been attempted. Consequently Hassler and the Coast Survey under him developed a reputation for uncompromising dedication to the principles of accuracy and excellence. Unfortunately, despite being a masterful surveyor, Hassler was abrasive and politically unpopular, twice loosing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonethelss, Hassler lead the Coast Survey until his death in 1843, at which time Alexander Dallas Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, took the helm. Bache was fully dedicated to the principles established by Hassler, but proved more politically astute and successfully lobbied Congress liberally fund the endeavor. Under the leadership of A. D. Bache, the Coast Survey completed its most important work. Moreover, during his long tenure with the Coast Survey, from 1843 to 1865, Bache was a steadfast advocate of American science and navigation and in fact founded the American Academy of Sciences. Bache was succeeded by Benjamin Pierce who ran the Survey from 1867 to 1874. Pierce was in turn succeeded by Carlile Pollock Patterson who was Superintendent from 1874 to 1881. In 1878, under Patterson's superintendence, the U.S. Coast Survey was reorganized as the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (C & GS or USGS) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA. Click here for a list of rare maps from the U. S. Coast Survey.

Size:   Printed area measures 27 x 31 inches (68.58 x 78.74 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 800000

Condition:    Very good. Some wear and toning on original fold lines. Minor repair upper right fold intersection. Backed on archival tissue for stability.

Code:   NewYorkCity4-uscs-1866 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)


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