The Mapping of North America

Volume 1


by Philip D. Burden

Reviews


IMCoS Journal Spring 1997 pp. 59-60.


The Mapping of North America. A list of printed maps 1511-1670. by 
Philip D Burden. Rickmansworth: Raleigh Publications, 1996.ISBN 0 9527733 O9.
Size: 36 27cn. xxxiv, 568 pp; 439 illustrations, of which 11 in colour. US$195 
(hard cover), $275 (half leather), $495 (full leather).

It is somewhat surprising to realise that the study of the cartography of North America has thus far been uneven both in coverage and quality. The available works include excellent regional studies such a Wheat’s magisterial Mapping of the Transmississippi West, Cumming’s pioneering work on the southeast, Wagner’s solid study of the northwest, and other, either less ambitious or less successful works. Important areas
such as the northeast, the middle Atlantic region, and the Gulf coast lack either definitive studies or have yet to be systematically considered. We also have Schwartz and Ehrenberg’s very good but necessarily cursory Mapping of America, an attempt at a comprehensive treatment of the subject. However, with the publication of Philip Burden’s prodigious The Mapping of North America, the whole picture changes. In this virtually exhaustive work on the printed maps of North America to 1670, the study of at least this area reaches a confident maturity. So many fundamental questions of state, date, and priority are settled with authority here that many maps that have been problematic in one way or another are no longer so. Many heretofore obscure works are knowledgeably discussed for the first time.

Nearly every entry in the work is enlightening in some way. Burden even has fresh observations about previously well-studies works like the various states of the Jansson-Visscher series. In some instances, a single entry such as the one on the rare and somewhat mysterious 1589 or c.1692 Hondius map of the Americas, can constitute a wide-ranging monograph that assesses a number of important maps.
Some commentaries, as the one on the Zeno map, include illuminating background information. In this, Burden never lapses into pedantry, which is remarkable considering the great store of knowledge evidently at his disposal.

Both the organisation and the layout of the work were obviously well thought out. The criteria for inclusion are both sensible and enlightened. For example, the decision to include multi-sheet world maps, whose sheets sometimes appear individually, has illuminating results. Limiting the work to printed maps is an artificial but no doubt necessary criterion given the great number of printed works to be considered and the attention given elsewhere to important manuscript works. The book’s admirably clear layout allows the reader to quickly apprehend the identifying facts of the entries. Even the decision to transcribe titles with exactly corresponding capitalisation and to show line breaks with slashes constitutes a contribution. A feature of the work I particularly admired is the highlighting of readily distinguishable details to help in differentiating between states of maps. One almost feels guilty for having instant answers to questions that before Burden required a day’s hunt in the library. Readability is enhanced by the book’s generous folio format, good-sized typeface, and uncrowded page design. In this, the book was modelled after Shirley’s Mapping of the World but has improved on it. In regard to the work’s illustrations, the author’s decision to largely forego the use of colour and half-tones in favour of high contrast
line-shots is a sound one given the nature of the book. This kind of illustration, many of which are full-page or at least good-sized, enables the viewer to best distinguish detail, which is suited to the author’s often highly detailed accounts of the maps. The work also contains several useful and fascinating appendices, including one which lists cartographic “firsts”, which is bound to be a dealer’s favourite. Given the quality of its information and production, the book is well worth its price.

Unfortunately, Burden’s achievement has been somewhat compromised by deficient editing and proofreading. The most serious problem arises from the editor’s difficulties with fundamental sentence structure. The prose is rife with run-on sentences and their attendant punctuation error, i.e., commas in the place of semi-colons. In fact, throughout there is uncertainty in comma usage, and the hyphen has been forgotten almost altogether. These problems and others are not merely matters of felicity of style, but they often make reading unnecessarily difficulty and in some cases obscure meaning. One hopes that the tremendous effort that went into the production of this book receives the professional editing it deserves in a future printing. 

The above problems aside, Philip Burden joins the line of dealers that included Henry Stevens, R V Tooley and Kenneth Nebenzahl, who have made major contributions to the understanding and appreciation of the wonderful artefacts through which they have earned their livelihoods. As Tony Campbell points out in the Foreward of the book, dealers have the privilege of handling great quantities of material, including unrecorded rarities, that affords us a unique vantage point for study. In no instance has this opportunity, abetted by indefatigable industry and careful study, been more fully exploited than in this remarkable work.
ROBERT AUGUSTYN
Co-owner, Martayan Lan

Imago Mundi volume 49 (1997) pp.173-4.

The Mapping of North America: A List of Printed Maps 1511-1670 
By Philip D Burden. Rickmansworth, Herts; Stamford, Connecticut: Raleigh Publications, 1996. ISBN 0 9527733 0 9. pp. xxxiv, 568, 418 illus., 11 colour plates. US$195 (cloth). (Raleigh Publications, PO Box 16910, Stamford, Ct 06905.)

Cartobibliographies are the building blocks of the history of printed cartography. They provide the raw material for the study of early maps without which it would be impossible to make generalizations and observe trends. One of the reasons for compiling such publications, has been to provide illustrated finding lists for the growing market of collectors of antiquarian maps (which largely means printed maps). Thirty years ago, the prolific work of R V Tooley, particularly in the Map Collector’s Circle, became the standard. As the market matured, collectors wanted more systematic, inclusive and authoritative lists, and their needs began to be met by works focused on areas popular with the collector, as with Rodney W Shirley’s The Mapping of the World : Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700. The utility of these publications, however, has extended far beyond he collector’s world to general tools of the scholar/researcher. 

Philip Burden’s The Mapping of North America, a meticulous labour of love begun nine years ago, falls within this category and will rightfully belong on every map collector’s, librarian’s and scholar’s shelf of “indispensable reference books”. Indeed, it is difficult to understand how the map-history community has done without it for so long. ‘Not in Burden’ in dealers’ catalogue descriptions will no doubt become the hallmark of great rarity for a printed map containing all or part of North America.

Burden’s book has a clear scope: to describe and illustrate every printed map that shows any part of America north of the present boundary between Mexico and the United States up to and including the year 1670. It generally excludes world maps on the assumption that these are already covered in Shirley’s compilation. But it does include the western hemisphere portions of those world maps that have a separate sheet for that hemisphere and that might become available separately. An example would be Michele Tramezzino’s two-hemisphere map of the world (Venice, 1554) or the northern hemisphere of those world maps divided between northern and southern hemispheres. The criterion of ‘availability’ requires an editorial call. Thus, although it is conceivable that the sheet containing the northern hemisphere of Antonio Floriano’s globe gores of about the same date might become available separately, it is highly unlikely, and therefore the map does not qualify for inclusion here.

There are some surprising but fascinating maps that fall within this scope, such as Andreas Cellarius’s 1660 map of the southern celestial hemisphere, which includes part of North America as its background. This list therefore not only details all regional maps of North America but also maps of the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans that include part of the North American continent. City maps and views – although few in number – are also described, such as the Nuremberg and Venice versions of the 
so-called Cortes map of Mexico city and the Gulf of Mexico (1524), but the map of Hochelaga (Montreal) in Ramusio’s Delle Navigationi et Viaggi (1556), sometimes characterized as the earliest published city plan of a European settlement in North America, might also have been included under this definition.

In addition to the chronological list of some 410 maps, there are stemmata of various categories of maps that reveal that Abraham Ortelius was by far the most influential of the compilers of printed maps in two of the categories (general maps of America and maps of Western North America). For sixteenth-century maps of the Atlantic, the main sources were Pedro de Medina and Nicolas de Nicolai. The juxtaposing of so many images reveals the strength of archetypes in the representation of different topics: the popular hemispheric map of the Americas on the stereographic projection; the rhumb-lined paskaert of the Caribbean or the Atlantic; and the regional maps of New England. Further research on these archetypes and their longevity, as well as trends in the use of projections or engraving styles will be greatly aided by this compilation.

There are seven useful appendices dealing with topics that have clearly been informed by Burden’s experience as a dealer and that are of interest to collectors: lost maps, California as an island, the first instances of place-names, a chronology of events in the history of the European discovery of the North American continent, places of production, a short-list of entries, and an alphabetical list of titles. Some of these yield interesting statistics. In the period in question (1511-1670), the Low Countries, France and Italy comprise over three quarters of the total; the Low Countries by themselves are responsible for almost 30 per cent of the maps. Maps produced in Amsterdam and Paris constitute almost 50 per cent of the total. The geometric increase in the number of printed maps since the sixteenth century is illustrated by the fact that some 90 per cent of the maps were produced in the century from 1570 to 1670. We learn in the preface that the number of maps for the second volume, planned to cover 1670 to 1700, is the same as for the period 1511 to 1670. More than half the maps listed appeared in atlases and a quarter in books; only 22 per cent were intended to be published separately.

A feature of great utility is that every map is illustrated by a legible high quality photograph. The illustration credits are listed at the beginning of the book, but it might have been useful to include the source of the photograph directly in the caption along with its call number or press mark when in an institutional library. This would aid the comparisons of future states, which is already one of the book’s strong points. As an example, we can cite the extremely useful list of states of Sebastian Munster’s famous woodcut map of the New World, Novae Insuae, in the Geographia and Cosmographia in various language versions between 1540 and 1575.

No private or public library with even the remotest interest in maps of North America can afford to be without this book. Its publication will also encourage the identification of new information regarding these maps; the author indicates that corrections and additions will be welcomed and published in the 1671-1700 sequel, a book which will put us even further in Philip Burden’s debt.
David Woodward
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Mercator’s World volume 1 number 6 (1996) pp. 58-61.

OPUS MAGNUS
by Thomas Suarez Historical Primer, Comprehensive Reference, Work of Art

Philip Burden’s monumental opus magnus, The Mapping of North America, is a cartobibliography of every printed map (other than world maps) through 1670 showing any part of what is now the United States and Canada. The author is a well-respected dealer in early maps who has seen a great deal of material over the years and has a talent for patient and methodical research. His book has been eagerly awaited by many of us in the map field, and so I was quite excited to review one of the first copies off the press. How does the final product compare with the very high expectations I, for one, had for this volume? In a word, brilliantly.

The book begins with a thoughtful Foreword by Tony Campbell, a leading authority on early cartography who is the map librarian at the British Library and author of several classic works on the subject. In the Preface that follows, Burden relates the history and goals of his book, as well as information describing its intended use.

Completely absorbed by the book at this point, my attention became even more focused as I read the Introduction. This informative four-part chapter provides historical background, beginning with a solid, concise summary of mainstream views of important events in the early European discovery and exploration of the New World. I might personally have preferred a few qualifying phrases in some of its discussions, regarding Vespucci’s culpability (or lack of it), for example, in the fabrication of his purported four voyages. But the pages perform their intended purpose quite well, serving as a primer for the historical background of the maps described in the main body of the book. The second part of the Introduction provides a synopsis of the legacy of Columbus and the earliest maps to show the New World (manuscript), followed by a fine summary of the earliest printed maps to do so through the Ruysch map of 1507-1508. This is a valuable section; although these maps predate the first map fitting the criteria for inclusion in the book’s carto-bibliography, their role in the story of the mapping of America is crucial. The third part is an excellent overview of printed maps of North America from 1511 in context of the exploration and colonization of the region to the latter part of the seventeenth century.

Finally, we reach the main body of the work: 410 printed maps, each one described; illustrated, with an explanation of states and editions; and supplemented by references and locations. In addition to the obvious candidates, Burden wisely includes the western half of world maps that were printed on two sheets (e.g. Stobnicza and Tramezzino), maps of the North Atlantic or Scandinavia that depict part of eastern Canada (e.g., Ziegler and Zeno), charts of the Pacific that include at least part of California, maps of the Arctic, many title pages, relevant peripheral maps (e.g., the map of Asia in the 1538 Solinus), and even celestial maps that superimpose a terrestrial image upon the heavens.

Burden’s scholarship is often fresh, and occasionally rewrites the existing literature. There are many examples of this. Though the Boisseau map of 1643 has long been known, it was Burden who took the trouble to study it and realized that it names all five Great Lakes several years before the Sanson map traditionally accorded that honor. An inset on the Claesz wall map of circa 1602 redefines the place of the 1606 Hondius map of the Southeast. The little-known reduced plates of the Boazio plan of St Augustine, the reduced Dudley maps that have come to light in the past few years, a study of the various small maps in Champlain, the unpublished island maps of Thevet, the little-known Metellus maps, and the previously unknown Vingboon chart of circa 1655 are but a few examples of the book’s new contributions. The important map of America from the Medina Arte de Navegar (1545), whose many derivatives have always been a headache to identify, are now finally sorted out. Similarly, the confusing relationship between de Bry, Herrera, and Hulsius is now squared away, as is the unending confusion of the various miniature maps of Ortelius, Langenes, and Bertius. All the editions of the Munster map are laid out. In short the nightmares that perennially frequent collectors and dealers of maps of North America will now begin after 1670, never before. Burden’s inventory of known examples of the rarest maps (those extant only in single-digit numbers) is the most accurate now available, and went hand-in-hand with his search for unrecorded states of all maps, however rare.

Some of the new insights reflect not only the author’s indefatigable industry but also the collaboration and interest of others in the map community. As a case in point, the only known surviving sheet of the de Jode wall map of 1576 was discovered by Jim Flatness, the librarian of the Library of Congress who has been helpful to many of us. The map was researched and resurrected from obscurity by Burden and identified with the help of the brilliant Dutch scholar Gunter Schilder. In The Mapping of North America the de Jode wall map finally attains its long overdue place in map history. Dealers are also part of this map community, as Tony Campbell kindly points out in the Foreword, and the beginnings of much important information finally formalized in Burden’s book can be traced to serious dealers. A few examples I noted are the enormous I importance of the Ramusio map of America, the true first state of the Ortelius map of America, the pre-eminence of the Jacobsz map of New Netherlands over that of Colom, and the true date of the Van Loon map of California. While certainly all dealers are in business to make money, it is indicative of the basic integrity of the field to note that in some cases – such as the redating of the van Loon map of California – dealer’s correction of the existing, established literature worked against his financial gain. This wealth of information is masterfully organized, easy to follow, and handsomely laid out. In the past, determining the particular state or edition of a map was anywhere from a minor nuisance to a formidable project; it is now immediately accessible, regardless of how common or obscure the map. The historical background and importance of each map is described, and comprehensive references are given for those wishing to explore the map or historical subject further. Whereas finding a picture of a given map has usually meant searching the abysses of one’s brain to remember if and where it is illustrated, all are now clearly reproduced with each entry. The complete inventory of photographs, combined with a cross-reference of maps by title in the appendixes, means that every map showing North America through 1670 can now be quickly and easily identified, even by the non-specialist.

Burden uses roman numerals for the illustrations in the Introduction, and starts again from “1” in Arabic numerals for the cartobibliography, so that entry numbers for all 410 maps are inter-changeable with their plate numbers, adding to the book’s smart, user-friendly format. This is no minor point – future cartobibliographers would do well to copy this idea, even if it meant skipping numbers or subdividing them by letters.

The compilation of illustrations is a staggering achievement in itself, especially as the quality of reproduction is consistently good. To be fair, they tend to be high contrast, many lacking the half-tones that would help convey the depth and feel of the actual map. But in return one gets such sharp resolution that fine nomenclature and geographic detail can be checked; given the purpose of the volume, this is a trade-off I am quite happy with. All of the reproductions in the body of the text are black and white, which is entirely adequate and certainly helped to keep the price of the volume at such a reasonable level. There are several truly wonderful maps that have never been illustrated before, and many for which there was no easily obtainable illustration. Among the many images that are likely to be new to most readers are the 1555 Richard Eden map (the earliest English map of America), the wall maps of Camocio (circa 1569) and Claesz (circa 1602), the Thevet island maps, and the maps of Metellus.

The text is written in a clear and straightforward fashion, though there is an occasional run-on sentence or rough punctuation. Given the excellence with which the book fulfills its mission, such grammatical quibbles are trivial indeed; nonetheless, I was surprised that such quirks were not polished in the editing process. The layout, the typography, the paper quality, the binding – in short, the “feel” of the book – are all superb.

At the back of the book are several very useful charts and appendixes. Eight clever charts illuminate various categories of maps and their derivatives (or lack thereof). there are listings of “lost” maps, maps depicting California as an island, cartographic “firsts”, a chronology of relevant historical events, centres of map production,. and a short list of entries. Also included is a cross-reference by title, a mammoth bibliography, and an extremely comprehensive index.

Given the sore need for this information, any such work, even a mediocre one, would probably have become a standard reference. One could have produced the book by simply compiling the various specialized cartobibliographies already available (e.g. pertaining to the Southeast, the Northwest Coast, Virginia, Great Lakes, California as an island), as well as various tidbits of important trivia that are not formally recorded but that float about dealers’ circles. While this was certainly the starting point for Burden, he obviously went far beyond that, scouring the planet to make the book as comprehensive as possible. I felt as though I were reading a book that had already undergone several corrected and enlarged editions. The project was clearly a labor-
of-love (as well it should be). Finally, its price of $195 (£120) struck me as being modest – in my opinion a fine value for the money. Some copies are also available in half leather ($275/£175) and full leather ($495/£320).

There is another facet of the price that is worth noting. Over the next few years Burden will be compiling the inevitable additions and corrections to the book (he even solicits them in his Preface). Rather than compel the reader to purchase a new edition to get that information – a common gripe about the publisher of Rodney Shirley’s wonderful Mapping of the World – it will be incorporated into his planned companion work about maps of North America dating from 1671-1700, which anyone acquiring the present book will wish to purchase anyway.

With The Mapping of North America, Burden has performed an invaluable service for everyone in the map community. The book was a behemoth undertaking which was handled masterfully. By the time this review is published, this book will surely have already become the primary reference for maps of North America through 1670. It is an absolutely essential work for anyone interested in early maps of America. It is, in addition, a justifiable temptation for anyone interested in early maps of any area.

Thomas Suarez is an antiquarian map dealer. He is also the author of Shedding the Veil, a book about the mapping of America.

The Mapping of North America.
Philip D Burden (Raleigh Publications, 1996)
pp.60, 11 full-color illustrations, 418 black & white
ISBN o 9527733 0 9. Price S195/£120

The Mapping of North America: A List of Printed Maps 1511-1670.
By Philip D. Burden.
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, Raleigh Publications, 1996. ISBN: 0952773309. xxxiv, 568pp, 418 illus, 
11 colour plates. £120.

Reviewed by The Editor - Ashley Bayntun-Williams

It has long been a surprise, with the great energies of time and money that have been expended on collecting early maps of the Americas both by institutional and private collectors, that so few carto-bibliographies of North American subjects have been published.

One of the particular appeals of maps of North America, and its parts, is that the early modem mapmaker essentially started with a blank piece of paper, and slowly, generation by generation, the outlines, then the hinterland, and finally the interior are filled in, with rivers, mountains, lakes and other natural features, and then details of the settlement patterns. This sense of development also lends itself readily to carto-bibliographic study.

Philip Burden's book is the first attempt to approach in detail the mapping of North America from 1511 (the first map specifically devoted to the New World) to 1670.

Defining his purpose, Burden wrote: "This book concentrates on the mapping of North America .... To define the limits of inclusion I set the following geographical boundaries: every printed map that details any part of North America is included. That is those concentrating on, or delineating in some detail, the area north of the present Mexican border with the United States of America" (Preface, p.v). To that end, he describes and, more importantly, illustrated 410 printed maps that fit his theme.

One particular exclusion is world maps, as having been extensively described in Rodney Shirley's The Mapping of the World, except in cases where the map is in two separate hemispheres, and where the western Hemisphere might reasonably be expected to turn up separately.

Now that such a volume exists, it is hard to believe that such an important study has never been attempted before, and yet the comprehensive nature of the listing, the detailed descriptions and listing of individual states is testimony to the sheer amount of work (and travel) involved in bringing this work to press. The author himself talks of nine years work, involving "all hours of the day and night" .

The carto-bibliographic listing is preceded by a valuable general introduction, setting the scene, with accounts of pre-Columbian discoveries, Columbus' voyages and then those of the English and Portuguese. Then follows a section describing, and with an impressive suite of plates illustrating, the developing outline of the American littoral on contemporary portolan charts and then on printed maps of the world up to 1511. Finally, there is an overview of the period from 1511 to 1670, setting cartographic developments in the context of voyages and settlement throughout the region.

The work is rounded off by a series of very useful (and occasionally provocative) Appendices, highlighting particular themes: Lost Maps, maps showing California as an island, a listing of the first appearance of places or geographical features on printed maps, a chronology of events, an analysis of places of production, a short list of entries, and finally an alphabetical list of the maps by title.

Within the main listing, an enormous number of maps of different regions are included. While the obvious subjects are included (maps of the Americas, North America, New England, Carolinas, South-East, West Indies and so on), a lot of unexpected areas are shown, for example, the series of celestial charts by Andreas Cellarius, which include geographic detail of the earth in the background. There are some maps, however, that this reviewer finds it hard to justify in a carto-bibliography of North America. Ortelius' map of Tartary (1570; map 41) does at least show some detail and nomenclature for the California region. The companion map of Scandinavia (map 40) shows the merest tip of the Labrador coast, as to be meaningless. The same could be said of the maps of Scandinavia by Munster (1540), Zeno (1558), Ruscelli, and so on. 

One cannot help but think that by throwing the net so wide, the impact of the central themes and development is dissipated. With such a wide scope, there is a tremendous amount of material that could be included, while some obvious material seems to have been excluded. If the various versions of Boazio's plan of St. Augustine could be included, perhaps the anonymous plan of the French fort on the River May, published in Paris in 1565, Ramusio's plan of Hochelaga, and surrounding country, or John Underhill's plan of a British attack on an Indian fort in New England might also have a good claim to be included.

A series of charts at the end of the volume go some way towards providing an overview of prototype maps and their influences, and gathering the various maps in their geographical groups, such as maps of the North Atlantic, New England, Mid-Atlantic states and the South East.

A very useful feature is that each of the maps is illustrated with the pictures, in the main, of high quality. The maps are generally reproduced without regard to the size of the original, but more with an eye to the space available, in proximity to the catalogue entry. A small number, however, are reproduced on very small scale, and the detail is hard to discern, even with magnifying glass.

Each entry is accompanied by a detailed description of the map, its sources, important features, in what form it was published and so on. While the author has a great deal of information at his finger tips, the entries are often poorly organised and ungrammatical, so that digressions, or infelicities of language, often interfere with a closely argued point. This is a little gripe, but more thorough editing would have greatly improved the accessibility of the text.

A more serious problem is the binding. This is a large, and heavy, volume, but the stitching is simply not strong enough. A good many copies that I know of have had the spine split the first time the volume is opened, which is unfortunate in view of the expense of the volume.

That said, the author is to be credited with what is a very important contribution to the cartographic literature. The assiduous diligence with which he has searched through the great map collections (both public and private) - as indicated by the locations cited at the end of the entry - to turn up a good number of previously unrecorded or overlooked items, is worthy of the highest praise. This listing also seems extremely thorough, and this is one situation where the 'Not in ...' label will justify that description.

The Mapping of North America deserves - no, demands - a place in every reference library as an indispensable tool in the study of maps of the region, but also as a first point of reference to the books and atlases of the period in question, a use that will extend to all researchers working on maps of this period. It is with the greatest anticipation that the second volume, extending the coverage from 1670 to 1700 is awaited.

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