1855 "New-York City & County Map with Vicinity Entire Brooklyn Williamsburgh Jersey City
1855 "New-York City & County Map with Vicinity Entire Brooklyn Williamsburgh Jersey City &c." by Charles Magnus
This is an extremely rare, full-color folding edition of Charles Magnus' s extraordinary 1855 broadside map of New York City, issued to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This is the only known example of this map, including those in institutional collections, in full original color.
The map depicts the entirety of Manhattan as well as most of Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Queens, Ravenswood, Astoria, Jersey City and Hoboken. An inset map at the bottom center details Long Island. The map is rendered in extraordinary detail, with special attention given to individual streets, blocks, parks and even important buildings. Magnus shows the beginnings of Hunters Point, or Long Island City in Queens. Important ferry crossings, canals, and railroads are also indicated.
In Manhattan, the map identifies various districts including Manhattanville, Yorkville, and Harlem. Central Park has yet to manifest and although the grid structure above 155th street is ghosted in, it has yet to be officially planned. Where Columbia University stands today this map shows the location of the New York Lunatic Asylum. Elysian Fields is depicted in Hoboken, a park expanse along the Hudson River that claims to have hosted the world's first baseball game.
At the bottom center of the map an alphanumerically keyed legend notes 'Universities, Colleges and Scientific and Literary, Benevolent-Institutions,' 'Public Buildings' and 'Places of Amusement.' In the lower left quadrant, there is an inset engraved depiction of New York's City Hall. Steam ships are shown navigating the Hudson River in both the upper right and upper left quadrants.
An elaborate medallion in the lower margins features the full text of the Declaration of Independence, as well as sigils representing each of the original 13 colonies. A bright blue pastedown, unique to this example, declares the purpose of this map is “to commemorate the 79th Year of the Independence of these United States.” The map is beautifully enclosed within an acanthus leaf motif border. All in all, this is one of the finest and most visually appealing maps of New York City to appear in the 19th century.
Charles Magnus (1826 - 1900) was a New York City based stationer, illustrator, bookseller, map, and print publisher active in the middle to late 19th century. Magnus was born in Elberfeld, Germany. Fleeing the March Revolution in Germany, the Magnus family immigrated to New York City in 1848. In New York, Charles' brother Carl Emil, an establisher publisher, took Charles under his wing and taught him the printing and publishing trade. The earliest work to bear the Magnus inscription dated to the 1850s and includes various pictorial broadsides and maps intended to commemorate important events - the most notable for map enthusiasts being his 1855 map of New York commemorating the ' 79th Year of Independence of the United States'. During the 1860s and years of the American Civil War, Magnus, through various political connections, became one of the few illustrators with unrestricted access to Union military camps. He is consequently very well known for his authentic view of Civil War cities and events. Following the war, Magnus began to develop a prosperous business creating and selling panoramic city views, song sheets, and patriotic envelopes. In all Charles Magnus, with over 1000 known works, was one of the most prolific American printers of broadsides and other lithographs.
This map is in very good condition, with full old color. It has been archivally presented, to the highest conservation standards, in a custom-built frame.