This month’s featured map is the oldest item in the BHS Map Collection, dating from approximately 1562. It was created by the Italian cartographer Girolaneo Ruscelli, based on an 1548 map by Giacomo Gastaldi. The map shows the eastern coast of the United States and Canada, from Florida to Labrador. Its main focus is what we know today as the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and Nova Scotia. “Angoulesme” is likely New York Harbor, “Flora” is likely the southern coast of Long Island, and “Brisa” is probably Block Island. It is interesting to note that the map does not show the coasts of either modern-day Maine or Massachusetts. The inaccuracies in the map illustrate the difficulty of early map-making.
(Click on the image to show more detail)
Interested in seeing more maps? You can view the BHS map collection anytime during the library’s open hours, Wed.-Fri., from 1-5 p.m. No appointment is necessary to view most maps. Our cataloged maps can be searched through BobCat and our map inventories through Emma.
Map of the Month is part of a project to catalog our map holdings, funded through the Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Collections program. If you would like to help us do more of this kind of work with our exciting map holdings, donate here.