This is a rare 1895 Map of Manhattan and the Bronx printed by J. N. Matthews for the Blanchard Press. This is one of the first maps to focus on Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, reflective of the spread not only of the city's population but also the increase of public works there. The map shows Van Cortland Park (first set aside as parkland in 1888) and the Morris Park Race Track (site of the Belmont Stakes between 1890 and 1904 and the Preakness in 1890.) The newly-founded Bronx Zoo is shown as well, although it would not open until 1899.
Publication History and CensusAlthough the earlier of this map's copyrights is 1895, we have not identified an example published before the latter copyright of 1902. Matthews-Northrup appears to have produced this map for publication by a variety of houses. In addition to Blanchard Press, we see comparable examples printed in 1904 by Home Life Publishing Company and by Foster and Reynolds; examples for Trow's Directory of 1909 can be found. This earliest edition, produced for Blanchard, appears to be quite rare. OCLC shows one example at the University of Oxford. We see no examples in dealers' catalogues or auction records.
Matthews-Northrup Works (fl. c. 1895 - 1930) were a Buffalo, New York based, in their own words, "writing, designing, engraving, printing, [and] binding" firm. The firm was founded by George E. Matthews as the J. N. Matthews Company. William P. Northrup later joined the company as an apprentice and then partner, at which point the firm was reincorporated as the Matthews-Northrup Works. The Matthews-Northrup Works rose to prominence as publishers and printers of railroad maps, with dozens to their credit. They also famously redesigned the cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1910. Despite some six previous cover changes in just 21 years, the Matthews-Northrup layout proved so popular that it was used for nearly 50 years. The firm can also take credit for the Winchell typeface, designed in 1903 under E. E. Winchell's tenure as art director. Curiously, the partners of Matthews-Northrup maintained an unusual affectation in which only the officers of the company could wear beards or mustaches. In this same spirit, the firm also had its own private social club, the Fellowcraft Club, where the all-male employees could relax, play pool, drink and dine. Matthews-Northrup maintained offices on Washington Street, Buffalo, where they were based, as well as Madison Square, New York City, Garden Tower, Boston, and the Citizens Building in Cleveland.
Isaac H. Blanchard (1862-1931) was an American printer and founder of Blanchard Press in New York City. Blanchard’s maps focused mainly on New York City and neighboring regions, though he also produced a map of Washington D.C. The press also printed books, specializing in historical themed works such as ‘Elizabeth Schuyler: a story of old New York,’ ‘Lady Hancock : a story of the American Revolution.’
Good condition. Marginal abrasion outside printed areas. Some reinforcement of folds.