Back in January I bumped into the Massachusetts Historical Society’s “Massachusetts Maps” online exhibit. A lot of these images are manuscript maps—i.e., drawn by hand, not made for mass reproduction, and thus not to be seen anywhere else. Until now.
Among the choice selections:
- A British army officer’s map of Charlestown, Boston, and Dorchester in late 1775, showing the fortifications of his army and the rebels.
- Society founder Jeremy Belknap’s map of Boston harbor that same year.
- Belknap’s sketch of the extent of a fire in Boston in April 1787, with the Rev. Dr. Mather Byles’s house at the top and the site of the chopped-down Liberty Tree at bottom. “Frog Lane” is now [CORRECTED] the part of Boylston Street that defines a southern border of the Common.
- Belknap’s similar report on the fire of 1794, which shows the ropewalks where fights broke out between workers and soldiers in March 1770 as well as some landmarks of post-Revolutionary society: the controversial Federal Street Theater, the Tontine Crescent, and the Boston Glass-house.
- John Adams’s notes on Braintree and Weymouth in 1760.
- Berkshire County in 1777, when it extended more to the east than today.
- Nehemiah Bennett’s 1785 map of Stoughton, which shows “Col. [Richard] Gridleys Mill.”