[United States]


Schoolboy map of the Reconstruction-era United States.

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This patriotic composition was created by W.H. Ray around 1866, based on the outlined state borders. Red, white, and blue colored highlights celebrate the recently reunited Union, torn asunder by the Civil War just a few years prior. Numerous cities and capitals are labeled, including Milledgeville in Georgia (the capital wouldn’t officially change to Atlanta about a decade later), Alton, Illinois (an important trading post on the Mississippi), and Virginia City in Nevada (a mining boomtown near the Comstock Lode).

The western states show an interesting territorial configuration, with Wyoming still attached to the Dakotas and Nevada’s truncated southern tip still a part of the Arizona Territory. An interesting depiction of the United States at a critical period in its history, and generally quite late for schoolboy maps of this nature.

[Taken from an online exhibition at the Osher Map Library] The creation of elaborate hand-drawn maps became an increasingly important part of this applied visual education by the 1810s, bringing together geographic and historical knowledge, as well as penmanship, artistry, and accomplishment. As historian Susan Schulten explains, “From the 1790s to the 1830s, students aged twelve to sixteen—primarily but not exclusively female—drew, painted, and stitched elaborate and enduring maps as part of their education in academies, seminaries, and other independent schools. Some maps were copied and traced, while others were freehand efforts guided largely by the grid of longitude and latitude. During the antebellum period, separate male and female academies and seminaries were founded up and down the Eastern Seaboard, as the demand for education grew exponentially in the young republic.

Geography was a foundational subject for both boys and girls, as it was thought to contribute to both literacy and citizenship. Many of the young women studying at such academies went on to become teachers, and may have brought map drawing and decorative practices with them into other schools. Elaborate hand-drawn maps began to go out of fashion in the 1830s and 1840s, as increasing numbers of illustrated geographic textbooks and printed classroom maps and charts became more widely available.”

Source: Osher Map Library

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1866

Author: W.H. Ray

Sheet Width (in): 17.25

Sheet Height (in): 12.5

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Hand-drawn map in pencil, ink, and probably crayon. Faintly wrinkled sheet that shows light scattered spotting in a few places, most evident in the lower left and upper center.


1 in stock