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Map, New York City, Brooklyn, A.J. Johnson, Antique Print, 1865


Alvin Jewett (A.J.) Johnson (1827-1884)
Johnson’s New York and Brooklyn
from Johnson’s New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas,
With Descriptions, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical

A.J. Johnson, New York: 1865
Hand-colored lithograph
26.5 x 18 inches, overall
23 x 16.75 inches, printed border

Detailed large map of Manhattan and Brooklyn set within an elaborate Victorian strapwork border. Parts of Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken and present-day Queens are also included. Governors Island, Ellis Island, Bedloes Island, the U.S. Cob Dock, Ward’s Island, Randel’s Island [sic] and Blackwells Island (later renamed Roosevelt Island) are also shown. Manhattan is shown from Battery Park to a few blocks above the North side of Central Park at 110th Street. An inset map in the upper right shows the rest of the island north of Central Park in a slightly smaller scale, with the present-day Bronx labeled “Westchester County.” Brooklyn appears prominently in the main map, shown from Greenpoint to the Greenwood Cemetery and from Red Hook to East New York Avenue. A heavy red outline separates Brooklyn from Flatbush and New Lots. The map shows parks, squares, streets, boat slips, ferry routes, railroads and “city car” (horse-drawn streetcar) routes. Wards are numbered and colored in shades of light and dark pink, yellow, and green. Footprints of some major buildings are also indicated, and institutional buildings on Blackwell’s Island are labeled, as are the major features of Central Park. This is the vertical version of the Johnson atlas New York City map. An earlier version, on a horizontal format, was published from 1862 to 1864.

Product Description Continues Below


Alvin Jewett (A.J.) Johnson (1827-1884), the publisher, is best known for his atlases, issued in many editions in the second half of the 19th century, beginning with the publication ofJohnson’s New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas. Apparently Joseph H. Colton of the Colton family of cartographic publishers sold his atlas plates to Johnson in 1860: the title page credits Johnson and Joseph H. Colton with the supervision of the compilation, drawing and engraving, and is copyrighted by Johnson & Browning, “Successors to J.H. Colton and Company.” The plates were based upon maps from previous Colton publications, although the decorative borders are different. Later editions of theFamily Atlaspublished in 1862 and 1863 are credited to Johnson and Ward, “successors to Johnson and Browning.” Editions continued to be published in New York until 1885.

The Colton maps that Johnson took over were engraved on steel plates and then transferred to lithographic stones for printing, rather than being produced using the cheaper wax engraving method commonly used by other U.S. map publishers in this period. Scholars speculate that the Coltons chose the method for its better quality, having set their sights on competing with European publishers in the higher-end atlas market. A.J. Johnson also published separately issued maps with D.G. Johnson and others.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning and wear. Central fold, as issued. Damp staining to some outer margins easily matted out.


Ristow, Walter W. American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985. p. 325.

Additional information


19th Century