Item #16000122 Herman MOLL.

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MOLL, Herman
The Beaver Map — An Icon of American Cartography In a Full Original Color
[London, 1715/ 1731]



North America/ Postal History/ Carolinas.  MOLL, H.  [London, 1715/ 1731A New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America. ... By Herman Moll Geographer. ... 39 5/8 x 23 7/8 inches.  Full original color; lightly toned, some folds reinforced with two areas of small loss, mended marginal splits, overall very good plus.                                                                                                                               

A beautiful, rarely seen example in full original color of one of the most famous maps of North America, and one of the first to focus on the English North American colonies.  It includes the well-known vignette of zoologically incorrect beavers engineering a dam with the Niagara Falls in the background.  This is a charming homage to an animal whose pelt was long a cornerstone of the colonial economy.


Moll's maps "were published as pictorial counterclaims to offset earlier maps by Delisle (with claims favorable to France)” (Schwartz).   This map, in particular "was the primary cartographic exponent of the British position during the period immediately following the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713" (Pritchard).  On the map, Moll employed some cartographic trickery to accomplish this.  In an effort to establish or at least suggest English claims to all territory to the southern shores of the St. Lawrence River and to the Great Lakes, the borders of the colonies are greatly distorted and their actual east-west lengths shortened.  The impression created is that a modest amount of territory is being claimed for the English when in reality it was vast. This also results in some of the most oddly proportioned colonial boundaries to be seen on an early map.


This map has also been recognized as the first to both show and describe the postal system of the English coloniesThe block of text at upper right describes its operation in some detail.


"This beautifully designed map, with its insets, gives a great deal of information about the Carolina region" (Cumming).  The large inset map of the Carolinas, which is a continuation of the main map, includes the names of numerous original settlers, towns, and parishes.  Cumming suggests that updates made to this inset in this state of the map were based on the Barnwell manuscript map of 1721.  Another inset map contains a plan of Charleston with a key containing 20 locations, while one in the lower left shows Georgia and notes the populations of various Indian tribes and settlements. An interesting note in the Louisiana inset states that one of the "Kings" of the Cherokees was in England in 1730.


Schwartz/Ehrenberg, p.135, pl.78; Cumming, Southeast no.158; Pritchard, M. Degrees of Latitude, 114-117, state 5, as described; Tooley, America, no.55e, p.87; E. Dahl "The Original Beaver Map," The Map Collector, no. 29.


 

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