Contemporary account of the Great Chicago Fire issued on the day the blaze finally sputtered out.

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“The Most Disastrous Conflagration That Ever Occurred in America – Over One Third of the City in Ruins.” The bold sub-heading for the story of Chicago’s Great Fire (relegated to page five) in the October 10, 1871 issue of The New York Herald is wrong on at least one account. The Peshtigo Fire, which started near a Wisconsin lumber town on the same day as the Chicago blaze, claimed over five times as many lives and remains the deadliest fire in U.S. history (excluding the Sultana explosion and 9/11 attacks).

Still, the map shows a broad swathe of destruction in hatched lines, and the accompanying article claims “the wide area of desolation shadowed in its [the map] dark lines does not embrace the whole extent of the calamity owing to the veering of the fickle wind…it is still raging southward, far below the streets upon our map, and will not be sated until it has died in the funeral pyres of the greatest city of the West.”

Such colorful (and sometimes exaggerated) language prompted donations of food, supplies, and money from all across the world, and accounts of generosity are also provided at the bottom of the page.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1871

Author: New York Herald

Sheet Width (in): 15.5

Sheet Height (in): 21.75

Condition: B

Condition Description: Single page map and accompanying article issued in full Oct. 10, 1871 issue of The New York Herald. Brittle paper has resulted in several small tears around the outer edges, but none enter the image. A bit of ink offsetting and misprinting in the subtitle block, but overall remains in good condition.


1 in stock