A scarce and extraordinary set of three large format 1860 nautical charts covering from Block Island and Buzzard Bay eastward to include all of Martha's Vineyard (Marthas Vineyard) and Nantucket. This set consists of three separate maps which can be joined into a single sheet or framed separately to dramatic effect.
From the left, the westernmost map (No. 14) in the series depicts the coast from Rhode Island from Block Island to the entrance to Buzzard Bay, Massachusetts. It features the town of Newport and is detailed to the level of individual buildings and roads. Innumerable depth soundings are presented throughout. Textual annotation in the upper quadrant offers sailing instructions as well as notations on light houses, magnetic variations, tides, and currents. The title of chart is set the upper right quadrant. The title for the three map series is set in the upper left quadrant.
The central map (no. 13), depicts Buzzard Bay and the island of Martha's Vineyard in full. It includes New Bedford and Edgartown and is detailed to the level of individual buildings and roads. Innumerable depth soundings are presented throughout and many of the undersea shoals in the area are identified. Textual annotation in the lower half of the map offers sailing instructions and notes on ranges and bearings. Additional annotation in the upper quadrants includes notations on light houses, magnetic variations, tides, and currents. The title of chart is set in the upper right quadrant. The title for the three map series appears in the upper left quadrant.
The eastern map (no. 12) covers the island of Nantucket and parts of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Like its partner maps, this chart is detailed to the level of individual buildings and roads. Innumerable depth soundings are presented throughout and many of the undersea shoals in the area are identified. The upper right quadrant feature detailed sailing instructions and notes on magnetic variations, light houses, and other dangers. The title of this chart is set in the upper right quadrant. The title for the three map series appears in the upper left quadrant.
The triangulation and topography for this map set was accomplished by a team under the supervision of A.D. Bache, director of the U.S. Coast Survey. It was engraved by A. Hoen and Co. of Baltimore for the 1860 edition of the Surveyor General's Report …
The Office of the Coast Survey (1807 - present) 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 devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were in turn 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 losing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonetheless, Hassler led 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 to 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) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA as the National Geodetic Survey.
August Hoen and Company (fl. c. 1840 - 1981) was a Baltimore based engraving and lithography firm active in the middle part of the 19th century. A. Hoen & Co. was originally founded by Edward Weber under the name 'E. Weber & Company. Weber died in the early 1850s and his company was taken over by German immigrant August Hoen (18?? - 1886) and his brothers, Henry and Ernest Hoen. As general interest lithographers, the Hoen firm's corpus includes posters, cigar boxes, sheet music covers, and posters as well as maps. They are best known for their pioneering multi-color lithographic techniques. After the death of August Hoen, the business passed on to his son, Albert Hoen. Another son, Earnest A. Hoen, moved to Richmond, Virginia and opened a branch of the firm there where he was granted a charter to produce Civil War era Confederate Currency. Their contributions to the cartographic field are generally in association with engraving and printing work done for Jacob Monk and the U.S. Geological Survey. The Hoen family maintained an active interest in the firm for the next 100 years or so until it finally filed for bankruptcy in 1981.
Bache, A. D., Report of the Superintendant of the U.S. Coast Survey, (Washington) 1860.
Very good condition. Professionally backed with japanese paper. Minor discoloration on original folds. Blank on verso. Three separate charts.
Office of the U.S. Coast Survey Historical Map and Chart Project, #12_13_14-00-1860.