November 8, 2013 - March 17, 2014
Boston was the metropolis of England’s North American colonies, with the largest population and economy of any urban center through the 1750s. It was also the leading producer of printed maps, including major colonial “firsts” such as the first printed map, first city map, first battle plan, and first map engraved on copper.
This exhibition brings together, for the first time, a majority of these maps “made in Boston” in the century before the American Revolution. As a group they are remarkable for their idiosyncrasies of style and important contributions to geographical knowledge.
These maps reflect distinct concerns of New Englanders in general and Bostonians in particular: Pride in their fine city, the hazards of navigating the New England coast, conflict and collaboration with the native inhabitants, and the French for mastery of North America, and landownership concerns. This exhibition affords a unique perspective on the ambitions, anxieties and sense of identity that animated colonial Bostonians.