A Detailed Map of NY, with an Interesting Story

October 03, 2022

A Detailed Map of NY, with an Interesting Story

Brewmaster turned map publisher? Jacob Ruppert, a New York businessman, did a bit of everything. Ruppert was born into a German immigrant family in 1842. His father owned a brewery in Manhattan, where Jacob took up the business of brewing. In 1862, he established the Jacob Ruppert Brewery, and in his first year of production, he sold over 5,000 barrels of beer.

In fact, the Ruppert Brewery played a special role in the publication of this antique map of New York. This detailed and attractive map was published by Ruppert in 1912, originally to advertise his Knickerbocker beer. The bird’s eye view of the city highlights the location of his brewery in Yorkville, shown on the map with a black star. The map originally featured an advertisement of Knickerbocker Beer across the top margin, though the flashy ad has been cut out of this example. Much of the German-heritage brewing operations were run out of Yorkville. In fact, New York’s German-owned breweries were once the largest beer-making operations in the country.

Detail of "Panoramic View of New York City" showing Ruppert Brewery in Manhattan

Knickerbocker beer was once the official beer of the New York Giants. This is quite ironic, however, considering Jacob Ruppert’s other investment at the time: the New York Yankees. Ruppert purchased the “New York Highlanders” baseball team in 1915, later changing their name to the New York Yankees. They brought the Boston Red Sox pitcher George Herman “Babe” Ruth to New York in 1919, and opened Yankee Stadium in 1923. A good businessman, Ruppert heavily featured his beer throughout the stadium.

 

The Babe Ruth Story by Babe Ruth and Bob Considine, First Edition, 1948

This 1912 original map has all that a collector could want: it is detailed down to the street names, shows an expansive view of the entire city, and uses rich color to show the mingling of infrastructure and nature. Close inspection will reveal a large variety of ships in the Hudson and the silhouette of Lady Liberty on her island. The map comes to us from the mind of an investor and entrepreneur, showing how prints were being used for advertising and marketing, not only for information and beauty. I love this map for its detail, insight into the time period, and the story behind its publication.

 






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