Pictorial aerial map of Lower Manhattan south of Chambers Street and Murray Street, filled with cartoon style illustrations depicting landmarks and events from New York City colonial history and the early years of the American republic. The cartography is simple, with streets, parks, boat slips and rivers color shaded with flat areas of blue, green and orange. Landmark buildings are drawn in aerial perspective in black outline on white backgrounds, highlighted in red. The buildings are numbered, and so may have originally been accompanied by a separate key. The historical events and figures are often depicted in a whimsical manner, such as a 17th-century man admiring a pretty woman crossing the bridge over a canal which the map tells us was once where Broad Street is, and the opera singer Jenny Lind singing atop Castle Clinton in Battery Park. Boats from all eras are in the waters. In the corners are large illustrations of the Statue of Liberty, colonial figures and Native Americans. Above the map are two Native Americans holding the seal of the City of New York flanked by the seals of New Amsterdam and New Netherlands. Historian and preservationist Gardner Osborn is listed as the copyright holder, presumably contributing to the research and captions.
The map is subtitled "Nieuw Amsterdam and New York 1789-1939," evidently published as a 150th anniversary souvenir of the year that New York City became the first national capital of the United States and George Washington was inaugurated as the first president at Federal Hall. It also may have been intended for sale at the 1939 New York World's Fair which also celebrated Washington’s inauguration.
Arthur Zaidenberg was a painter, sculptor, teacher and author of numerous popular instructional art books on painting, sculpting and drawing, including the classic 1938 book Anyone Can Draw. He studied at the Art Students League, the National Academy of Design, the Academy of Beaux Arts in Paris, Kunstakademie in Munich and the American Academy in Rome. Zaidenberg produced murals for more than 100 hotels in Miami Beach, for the cruise ship Rotterdam and for the St. Moritz Hotel in Manhattan. During World War II he made animated films for the Army Signal Corps. According to his New York Times obituary, he was the first teacher at New York University to use nude models in his life drawing classes. Zaidenberg and his wife, also an artist, lived for 30 years in Woodstock, New York before moving to Mexico, where they spent the last 10 years of his life.
Gardner Osborn worked in advertising and public relations and was also a historian, preservationist and civic activist. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, he graduated from Yale University and moved to New York where he worked for the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Agency and later as publicity director for Bloomingdale's. He was active in many New York City and national historic groups, as executive director of Federal Hall Memorial Associates from 1940 to 1968. He also was associated with the Bill of Rights Commemorative Society, the Order of the Founders and Patriots of American, the United States Flag Foundation and the New York Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Full publication information: Drawn by A. Zaidenberg. © Gardner Osborn - 1938, 120 Broadway.
Condition: Generally very good, formerly folded, as issued. Now professionally cleaned, flattened, deacidified, and backed with Japanese tissue, thus repairing a few marginal tears in blank margins, as well as hard creases and slight openings at folds and fold intersections. Some remaining some minor toning, wear, handling, creases all unobtrusive.
"Arthur Zaidenberg; Artist, 88." New York Times. 19 April 1990. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/19/obituaries/arthur-zaidenberg-artist-88.html (9 July 2014).
"Arthur Zaidenberg - Studies in Figure Drawing." 11 December 2009. Figure Drawing. http://figure-drawings.blogspot.com/2009/12/arthur-zaidenberg-studies-in-figure.html (9 July 2014).
"Gardner Osborn." New York Preservation Archive Project. 2010. http://www.nypap.org/content/gardner-osborn (9 July 2014).