1839 "Routes Between New York & Washington" by J. Smith

This charming and colorful map depicts the east coast from New York City, New York, south to Washington, D.C., highlighting the various direct routes a traveler may take. The folding pocket map once condensed into a small booklet that could easily fit into one’s jacket pocket. The hand-colored engraved map is titled Routes Between New York & Washington. Drawn by I. Smith Geographer. This railroad strip map was published by J. Disturnell out of New York in 1839 and is a scarce second edition. In addition to the map, the booklet once contained A Guide Between New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. The map is now beautifully presented in a black and gold custom archival frame.

In the 1830s, railroads were still a novel form of passenger travel. Before then, trains were used mainly to transport goods. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O Railroad) became the first railroad chartered for passenger transport services in 1827 and by 1830 the first passenger cars were active. Trains played a major role in the 19th century: they expanded trade and transportation, allowed easy personal travel for the first time in the U.S., and even helped determine the course of the Civil War. Published in 1839, this map shows the railroad systems in bright red with the main B&O railroad line extending almost directly south from New York to Washington D.C. Canals are also shown in dark blue throughout the map and served as the main rival to railroad transportation at the time. Before railroads, canals dominated the inland transportation industry and fought against the expansion of railroads. In 1828, the C&O Canal filed a lawsuit against the B&O Railroad’s purchasing of land along the Potomac. Likewise, that same year the B&O retaliated by filing a suit against the C&O Canal for the same reason. In direct competition with one another, the two harshly fought over who would become the dominant form of transportation and as a result, this 1839 map boldly highlights both options along the route. 


Overall very good condition. Hand-colored engraving published in 1839 by J. Disturnell, New York. Original fold lines present where the map once condensed into the book. General toning as expected with age. Title and publishing information are both clearly legible.

Framed Dimensions: 30 1/2"H x 9 3/4"W x 1"D

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