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Map, New York City and Brooklyn, J.H. Colton, Antique Print, 1856


G. Woolworth Colton
Map of New York and the Adjacent Cities
from Colton’s General Atlas
H. Colton & Co., New York: c. 1856
Hand-colored steel plate engraving
16 x 26 inches approximate overall

Detailed large map of Manhattan and Brooklyn set within a decorative border. Manhattan is shown from Battery Park to the North side of Central Park. An inset map in the lower right shows the rest of the island north of Central Park in a smaller scale. Brooklyn appears prominently in the main map from Red Hook to Greenpoint, and as far to the east as Sixth Avenue in the southern part of Brooklyn and 11th Street in the northern part. A small portion of the coasts of Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey also appear. Blackwell Island (now Roosevelt Island), Governors Island and Ellis Island are also included. The Buttermilk Channel and The Wallabout between the U.S. Cob Dock and the Brooklyn Navy Yard are labeled. ­The various wards are numbered and colored in shades of pink, yellow, green and brown. Another example of this map, is in the David Rumsey Collection, which dates it to the 1856 edition of Colton’s General Atlas.

Product description continues below.


Between 1831 and 1890, the Colton firm dominated American map publishing and their atlases were the finest produced in the U.S. during the 19th century. The company was founded by Joseph H. Colton, who had no formal training in geography or cartography; his principal role was to manage the production and distribution of the maps. He began by publishing maps drawn by David H. Burr in the 1830s. The firm was renamed G.W. & C.B. Colton in the 1860s when Colton was succeeded by his sons — George Woolworth Colton (1827-1901) and Charles B. Colton (c. 1831-1916). It is believed that George Colton compiled the company’s 1855 Atlas of the World and served thereafter as the firm’s principal map compiler, cartographer and engraver. The company continued to publish maps and atlases until 1892. Whether they were bought out or simply ceased production at that point is not known. According to map historian Walter W. Ristow: “At that date, wax engraving had been adopted as a reproduction medium by most of the large American cartographic publishers. Having built their business on engraving and lithography, the Coltons were apparently unwilling to reorganize it.”

Full publication information: Published by J.H. Colton & Co. No. 172 William St. New York. Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1855, by J.H. Colton & Co. in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning and wear. Center fold as issued. A few stray colors from hand coloring, as issued.


Cohen, Paul E. and Augustyn, Robert T. Manhattan in Maps: 1527-1995. New York: Rizzoli, 1997. p. 120.

“Map of New York And The Adjacent Cities.” David Rumsey Map Collection. 2018. (11 June 2018).

Ristow, Walter W. American Maps & Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the 19th Century. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1985. pp. 325, 327.

Additional information


19th Century