November 8, 2013 - March 10, 2014
Central Library, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
Boston was the metropolis of Great Britain’s North American colonies, with the largest population and one of the busiest economies of any urban center through the 1750s. It was also the leading producer of printed maps, including major milestones such as the first map printed in the colonies, as well as the earliest city map, battle plan, and map engraved on copper.
This exhibition brings together, for the first time in decades, a majority of these maps “made in Boston” in the century before the American Revolution. As a group they are remarkable for their contributions to geographical knowledge and often unconventional style.
These maps also afford a unique perspective on the ambitions, anxieties and sense of identity of colonial Bostonians: pride in their flourishing city, the hazards of navigating New England’s coast, disputes over land ownership, and struggle with the native inhabitants and French for mastery of North America.