Map of the Treasure Seas


Advertising with the adventures of Sir Francis Drake!

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This vibrant reproduction is perhaps the closest one might get to obtaining a real ‘treasure map’ from the epic 1585 voyage of Sir Francis Drake. The image is a replica of a unique manuscript drawn by Baptiste Boazio, a member of Drake’s crew, between 1588 and 1603. It shows the course of the fleet as it departed from England, made its way through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic coast of America before crossing the Atlantic, bound for home. Numerous decorative elements are present in the form of strapwork cartouches, an elaborate compass rose, and images of fish and sailing ships.

The accompanying text briefly summarizes Drake’s journey and highlights the broad appeal of his adventures. “Do you have in your household a boy, say anywhere between the ages of eight and eighty, who loves to dream of adventure, treasure hunting, exploration, piracy, and heroism on land or sea? If so, please save for him the map reproduced on the opposite page.”

The map was published as a promotional advertising piece by the R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company of Chicago around 1950. Dated based on the text “a certain well-known contents of our own time” and the role of Ruth Lapham Butler as Curator of the Ayer Collection at the Newberry (1931-1962).

Source: Newberry Library, Special Collections (SNAC)

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1950

Author: Baptiste Boazio

Sheet Width (in): 23.6

Sheet Height (in): 19.4

Condition: A-

Condition Description: A few small smudges can be seen near the text description and the outer edges are slightly worn, consistent with age. Very good overall.


1 in stock