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1893 Smith & Knapp Map of Central Park, New York City

Illustrated and Indexed Map of Central Park.

1893 Smith & Knapp Map of Central Park, New York City




Illustrated and Indexed Map of Central Park.
  1893 (dated)    9 x 35 in (22.86 x 88.9 cm)


A very attractive 1893 map of New York City's Central Park prepared and printed for inclusion in the Illustrated and Historical Souvenir of Central Park. This is an extremely rare variant on the map of Central Park that originally appeared in the 1864 Commissioner's Report. This variant lacks the decorative border and hand coloring but makes certain additions, such as profiles of the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other Central Park buildings. Also features an index in the Old Croton Reservoir. Depicts the park as a whole and includes pathways, lakes, buildings, individual trees, rocks, and elevation measurements.

This extraordinary map reveals Central Park as conceived by the Landscape Architects, and indeed 'artists,' Vaux and Olmstead. Vaux and Olmstead were awarded the task of designing Central Park in 1853 by the City Common Council. Olmstead's vision drove the overall design while Vaux concentrated his attentions on bridges, buildings, and other structures within the park. The creation of Central Park, which was to consist of some 800 acres of public forest, pathways, promenades, lakes, bridges, and meadows, was a seminal moment in civic urban design. The park itself was designed as a whole with every tree, pond, and bench meticulously planned. Olmstead wrote: 'Every foot of the parks surface, every tree and bush, as well as every arch, roadway, and walk and been placed where it is for a purpose.'

Historian Gloria Deak writes,
There was a staggering amount of work to be done to transform the area into a blend of pastoral and woodland scenery. This involved the design and construction of roadways, tunnels, bridges, arches, stairways, fountains, benches, lamp posts, gates, fences and innumerable other artifacts. It also involved the supervision of an army of about five thousand laborers…Olmsted, to whom most of the credit goes, insisted on seeing the multidimensional project as a single work of art, which he was mandated to create. For this purpose, he ventured to assume to himself the title of ‘artist.'
Today, because of Vaux and Olmstead's efforts, New York Yorkers, ourselves included, have the privilege of enjoying what is, perhaps, the finest example of a planned urban public recreation area in the world.


Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896), Henry B. Major and Joseph Fairchild Knapp (1832-1891) founded the Sarony, Major & Knapp publishing firm in 1857. The firm specialized in portraits, government reports, book illustrations, and architectural and scientific plates. Sarony, Major and Knapp remained in business for ten years finally closing its doors in 1867 when Napoleon Sarony left the firm to follow his interest in photography. In addition to their public sector business, the firm also printed most official maps of New York City, including, between 1860 and 1867, some of earliest maps of Central Park.


Smith, William F., Illustrated and Historical Souvenir of Central Park New York, 1893.    


Very good condition. Minor repair on original fold lines at fold intersections. Upper left margin narrow, as issued. Comes with original illustrated 68 page booklet by William Smith.


Deák, Gloria Gilda. Picturing America: 1497-1899. Vol. 1. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988. pp. 535-536; Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 350-356. (Sarony, Major & Knapp).
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