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1852 Shield's Case Map of Boston, Massachusetts

Map of the City and Vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts. - Main View

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-American architect, civil engineer, surveyor, and landscape architect based in Philadelphia. Sidney was born in England and emigrated to the United States, settling in Philadelphia, around 1840. His first cartographic works appear in the late 1840s when he partnered with Robert Pearsall Smith to survey several new large format maps of the Philadelphia region. In the 1849 Philadelphia Directory, he appears as a civil engineer and by c. 1850, he had established a partnership with the architect James P. W. Neff, Sidney and Neff, located at 80 Walnut Street. Around this time, he also published his most important work on architecture, American Cottage and Villa Architecture . The partnership with Neff dissolved c. 1854. It may have been because he was neglecting the architecture business to procures more maps for Smith, including the 1852 Map of the City and Vicinity of Boston. After 1854 he briefly relocated to New York to participate in Smith's mapping of that state. He returned to Philadelphia in 1857 forming a partnership with Andrew Adams, an architect and surveyor. During this time he completed a masterplan for Philadelphia's Fairmont Park, which was adopted and approved by the city council in 1859. The partnership with Adams dissolved one year later in 1860. In 1864 he took a new partner, Frederick C. Merry, founding Sidney and Merry, which continued the work on Fairmont Park and later Chestnut Hill. From 1865, Sidney worked independently and spent the rest of his careers designing schools for the Controllers of the Public Schools of Philadelphia. He became a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1870. Sidney's initials are often misrepresented on maps as J. G. and/or F. C. More by this mapmaker...

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. In 1858, he joined forced with the Swiss-American engraver Frederick Bourquin (1808 - 1897) under the imprint 'F. Bourquin and Company' (602 Chestnut Street). Smith retired suddenly and inexplicably from the printing business around 1865. 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. Learn More...

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. Learn More...


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.