The Mapping of North America

by Philip D. Burden, Raleigh Publications, Rickmansworth, Herts, England, 1996,    ISBN 0 9527733 0 9.  A Cartobibliography of 410 maps of the Americas from the untitled map of Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, Seville, 1511 through Pietro Todeschi’s America noviter delineate….,  Bologna, c.1670.  A work of 568 pages, each map is described with a legible size illustration. This is meant to be a complete listing of all known printed maps now in existence.

mapping-north-americaThose of you who attended out February 17th, 2007 meeting at the Huntington will recall Philip’s excellent talk entitled “The Men behind the Maps.” For 28 years he has worked with maps, following in the footsteps of his late father, Clive Burden. His scholarly presentations of each map are readable and very detailed. He cites not only references where each map is mentioned in print, but also lists where examples can be seen. The Peter Martyr map, as an example, exists in nine named libraries and two private collections. These are the only known examples. But Burden goes even further than this. He lists all known states of each map. The well known Munster mapNovae Insulae, XVII Nova Tabula is listed as having 9 states with Latin text, 15 states with German text, 6 states with French text, and 3 states with Italian text. Whew! Each state is dated and described. It is doubtful that any other person has seen this many printed maps of the Americas. Certainly no one has done the scholarly work required to pull this work together. So this 11 year old book is an incredible reference for any map collector.

It’s also a sizable tome, 14-1/2 inches tall by 11 inches wide by 2 inches thick, weighing 7 pounds. Not a book to carry around lightly, yet an incredible research tool which every library, dealer and well-heeled collector should own if they include maps of this genre in their collection. When this book was published, all the experts clamored for more. Why on earth would Philip stop with maps only before 1670? Was there some unseen barrier to keep later maps out? What gives?

Philip responded just this year. Here’s the answer…

The Mapping of North America II

a list of printed maps 1671-1700, by Philip D. Burden. Raleigh Publications, Rickmansworth, Herts., England, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9527733-1-3.

mapping-north-america-iiWhere the first volume contained 410 maps, this contains slightly fewer at 364.  The descriptive material is longer, however, so this volume is essentially the same size and weight as the first. Included are 38 pages of “Corrigenda and Addenda” for volume I. We are now told there are 16 known copies of the Peter Martyr map and Tom Suarez added another Latin variant to the Munster, both cited above. Combining thorough research with honest self correction is somewhat unusual and very refreshing.

In addition to the careful description of each map, this volume expands on the appendices of the first volume. Appendix 2 lists known maps of California as an Island before 1700, now numbering 155 examples. There is also an alphabetical index by title, very useful for those of us who don’t work with this type of map every day.

These two volumes are the key to pre-1700 maps of the western hemisphere. Each and every day more maps make their way onto the Internet. The question most asked of dealers and collectors is, how do you know who made this map and when? This is the definitive source book for answers. If your research library doesn’t contain both volumes they should. Knowledge does not come cheap. At several hundred dollars each, these books are well worth the investment.

Reviewed by Bill Warren
From the Society’s March 2007 Newsletter