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1853 Ensign and Thayer City Map or Plan of New York City

Map of the City of New York, with the Adjacent Cities of Brooklyn and Jersey City, and the Village of Williamsburg. - Main View

1853 Ensign and Thayer City Map or Plan of New York City


Illustrates the original site of Columbia College, now Columbia University.


Map of the City of New York, with the Adjacent Cities of Brooklyn and Jersey City, and the Village of Williamsburg.
  1850 (dated)     17 x 21 in (43.18 x 53.34 cm)     1 : 17000


This is a scarce and beautiful 1850 pocket map of New York City published by Ensign, Thayer and Co. It depicts Manhattan from 32nd Street south to the Battery and Brooklyn from the Navy Yard to Sackett Street as well as part of Williamsburg. A large part of Governors Island is also included. City wards are numbered and coded with outline color. All streets are labeled, the map is gridded in quarter-mile sections and countless important buildings are noted. Ferry routes cross the East and Hudson Rivers in numerous places and are identified. A key is included below the title, which also notes the 'strokes of bell' for fire alarms in the first, second and third districts.

The map notes the original site of Columbia College near Park Place. An inset of Jersey City and another large inset of the Northern part of New York Island are featured in the top left corner. Although the northern part of Manhattan was undeveloped at the time, the map clearly depicts the Croton Aqueduct and the Harlem and Hudson Railroads. Bloomingdale Road, the oldest north-south main road in New York which would eventually become Broadway, is also noted.

This map was published by Ensign, Thayer and Company of 50 Ann St., N. Y. as a pocket map. Drawn and engraved by John M. Atwood, 19 Beekman St., N.Y. Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1844, by Humphrey Phelps in the Clerks office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.


Edward Hooker Ensign (August 18, 1818 - July 10, 1871) was an American map and print publisher based in New York during the middle part of the 19th century. Edward was born in West Hartland, Connecticut. Little is known of Ensign's training but he may have inherited his business from his father, Timothy Ensign (1795 - 1859), who was a map publisher active in New York. Ensign seems to have had a flair for partnerships and variously published with Humphrey Phelps (1799 - 1875), Horace Thayer, Thomas C. Fanning (1805 - 1873) and Erastus C. Bridgman (1817 - 1870), among others. His various imprints include 'Phelps and Ensign' (1841-1844), 'T. and E. H. Ensign' (1844-1848), 'Ensign and Thayer' (1849), 'Ensign, Thayer, and Company' (1850-1851), 'Horace Thayer and Company' (1852), and 'Ensign, Bridgman and Fanning' (1854-1863). It appears that father and son worked together for some time as well, publishing as either 'T. and E. H. Ensign' or 'Ensigns'. At least some of these companies maintained offices in both Buffalo and New York City. More by this mapmaker...

Horace Thayer (June 29, 1811 - March 15, 1875) was a New York based publisher and lithographer active in New York City and Buffalo, New York, during the middle part of the 19th century. Thayer's publications focused on travel guides, wall, and pocket maps - many of which were based on the works of other American cartographers including J. H. Colton and S. A. Mitchell. In the 1840s, he partnered with the Hartford, Connecticut publisher Timothy Ensign (1795 - 1849) and later his son, Edward Hooker Ensign (1818 - 1871). According to map historian Walter Ristow, J. H. Colton's older son, George Washington Colton, partnered with Thayer in the late 1850s and early 1860s, possibly in order to learn Thayer's lithography techniques. Certainly a number of maps emerged bearing a 'Thayer and Colton' imprint. At various points Thayer also published with other prominent publishers and printmakers, publishing as Kelloggs and Thayer (1846 - 1847), Ensigns and Thayer (1848), Ensign and Thayer (1849 - 1850), and Ensign, Thayer, and Company (1850 - 1851), Phelps and Watson (1859), and Thayer and Colton (1859-186?). Thayer seems to have moved frequently and had offices at 50 Ann Street, 156 William Street, and at 18 Beekman Street, all in New York City. Learn More...

John M. Atwood (1817 - October 12, 1884) was an American engraver based in Philadelphia and New York City during the middle part of the 19th century. Atwood was born in Georgetown, near Washington D.C. Little is known of Atwood's life but most of his work was completed in conjunction with the publishing firms of Horace Thayer and J. H. Colton. A review of Atwood's work suggests that he was a highly accomplished, stylistically distinct, and detail oriented engraver. Colton seems to have turned to Atwood to engrave some of his most important as well as decorative maps. His most influential map is most likely the 1856 De Cordova pocket map of Texas, however, he also engraved the Colton's well known and highly decorative Thirty Three Miles Around New York and Colton's important 1849 Map of the United States. Learn More...


Very good. Verso repairs at fold intersections. Light soiling and foxing. Blank on verso. Accompanied by original binder.


OCLC: 46396257. New York Public Library, Map Division, Map Div. 01-1820. Haskell, D., Manhattan Maps A Co-operative List, 875 (1852).