Separately issued advertising wall map of Manhattan issued as a promotional piece by the Homestead Fire Insurance Company. Manhattan is shown from the Battery to the northern end of Central Park, along with a section of Brooklyn and Blackwell’s Island (later renamed Roosevelt Island). The map is divided according to wards, colored pink, yellow, green and blue, and fire districts, outlined in red. The upper quarter of the sheet consists of an ad for the insurance company, showing their headquarters building at the Whitlock Building, 136 Nassau Street, corner of Beekman, and listing their directors. The name of one of their agents, George McChain of Ithaca, New York, is printed in red. An inset table lists the names of various hotels. The engraved cartouche shows a small illustration of a firefighter in front of a pumping carriage, as two firemen put out a blaze in the background. The entire map with advertisement is surrounded by an elaborate Victorian border.
Ferdinand Mayer (born c. 1817) was a German-born lithographer who worked in New York City from 1845 on, initially associated with Nagel & Mayer, then with Mayer & Korff, and finally operating as Ferdinand Mayer & Sons from 1854 to around 1877. Mayer was the lithographer of several important maps and view of New York City. Beginning in 1855, he produced some maps by the prominent surveyor Henry Francis Walling. H.F. Walling’s Map Establishment was located a few doors down from Mayer’s 96 Fulton Street location for two years during the 1850s before moving a few blocks away. In about 1865, Mayer published Egbert L. Vielé’s Topographical Map of the City of New York.
Full title: “Map of the City of New York. Lithographed expressly for the Homestead Fire Insurance Company. Population of New York City 750,000. Lithographed by Ferd. Mayer & Co. 96 Fulton St.”
Condition: This example was issued as a wall map. The original shellac and rollers were removed and the map rebacked on canvas with cloth selvedge on all edges. It is generally in very good condition, with the usual toning, wear, soft creases. There are a few small scattered cracks and restored abrasions to the surface, as is common for varnished wall maps.
Groce, George C. and Wallace, David H. The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. p. 434.
Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 275-276.
Ristow, Walter W. American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985. pp. 327, 331-332.
“Topographical Map of the City of New York.” American Memory, Library of Congress. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3804n.ct002003 (3 November 2008).