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' 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.

The 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.




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