This item has been sold, but you can enter your email address to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1852 Shield's Case Map of Boston, Massachusetts

Map of the City and Vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts.

1852 Shield's Case Map of Boston, Massachusetts


Stunning case map of Boston and vicinity.



Map of the City and Vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts.
  1852 (dated)    42.5 x 42 in (107.95 x 106.68 cm)     1 : 39600


This is a stunning large format first edition 1852 case map of Boston, Massachusetts, and vicinity. Centered on Boston, the map covers from Danvers to Hingham, and from Weston to Massachusetts Bay. Towns are coded in bright original color. The map is incredibly detailed, identifying individual property owners, streets, roads, railroads, buildings, and more. The map is significant as it predates the Mill Dam Land Fill (Back Bay) and other land-reclamation projections what would transform Boston in the subsequent decades.

The map was compiled from surveys completed by James Charles Sidney under the direction of Robert Pearsall Smith. It was printed in Boston by J. B. Shields. Note, Shields seem to have misspelled Sidney's name on this edition of the map as F. G. Sidney. There appears to be a failed attempt to correct the plate by adding a J-like hook to the 'F', and partially obscuring the inner hook of the 'G', but it was ineffective at best. The error was properly corrected in the 1853 second edition of this map.


James Charles Sidney (1819 - April 27, 1881) was an English engineer, architect, surveyor, and landscape architect. Born in England, Sidney first appears as a cartographer in the employ of John Jay Smith in Philadelphia during the early 1840s. He also worked for Smith’s son, Robert Pearsall Smith, who was one of the most prolific American map publishers of the mid-nineteenth century. Pearsall Smith published Sidney’s Map of Ten Miles Around — Map of the Circuit of Ten Miles around the City of Philadelphia in 1847 and his Map of the Township of Germantown with the Names of the Property Holders around 1848. By 1849, Sidney listed himself as a civil engineer in the Philadelphia city directory, having completed his earliest known architectural works in the mid-1840s. In 1850 or 1851, Sidney formed a partnership with James P. W. Neff, ‘engineers and architects’. This partnership appears to have lasted until 1854 or 1855, when Sidney moved to New York City to work with Robert Pearsall Smith’s firm, which was mapping New York State. By 1857 or 1858 Sidney had returned to Philadelphia and began a new partnership with Andrew Adams, which only lasted until 1859 or 1860. This partnership produced the master plan for Fairmount Park, adopted in 1859, and continued by Sidney with his new partner Frederick C. Merry. The Sidney and Merry partnership lasted until 1864 or 1865, when Sidney began working independently and spent the rest of his careers designing schools for the Controllers of the Public Schools of Philadelphia.

Robert Pearsall Smith (February 1, 1827 - April 17, 1898) was an American map maker active in Philadelphia from the middle to late 19th century. Smith was born to a Quaker family in Philadelphia, all librarians and publishers. Robert Pearsall originally ran a law bookstore at 19 James Street, Philadelphia. It was not until 1846 that Smith began producing maps in collaboration with this father, John Jay Smith, and brother, Lloyd P. Smith. One year earlier, in 1845, John Jay, then librarian at the Library Company of Philadelphia and Loganian Library, acquired the American rights to the anastatic process of transfer lithography. In February of 1846 he and his two sons founded the Anastatic Office, a printing concern based on the anastatic process located at 317 Market Street, Philadelphia. The Anastatic Office produced numerous copies and reissues of historic documents and maps from the Library Company's collection before being dissolved in 1847. In the same year Robert Pearsall opened a printing establishment under his own name at 144 Chestnut Street. Smith was also deeply religious, a lay leader in the Holiness Movement in the United States and the Higher Life Movement in Great Britain. Smith and his wife, Hannah Tatum Whitall, first crossed the Atlantic to preach in England, Germany and Switzerland in 1873. They returned in 1875, preaching in Brighton, where Smith supposedly had an affair with an American writer. In, 1888, his entire family moved to England.

J. B. Shields (fl. c. 1850 - 1854) was a Boston based book and map publisher active in the mid-19th century. From their offices at 19 Hanover Street, Boston, the J. B. Shields firm published numerous maps and books, most of which were of a technical nature.


Very good. Original linen stable. Original edging.


Phillips (America) p. 157. OCLC 85868314. Boston Public Library, Leventhal Center, G3764.B6 1853 .S5. Rumsey 5465.000.
Looking for a high-resolution scan of this?