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Map, New York City, Brooklyn, Johnson’s Atlas, Antique Print, 1860s


Johnson and Ward (act. 1860s)
Johnson’s Map of New York and the Adjacent Cities
from Johnson’s New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas, With Descriptions, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical
New York: c. 1862-64
Hand-colored lithograph
18 x 26.25 inches, overall
16 x 25.75 inches, border

Detailed large map of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, Jersey City and Hoboken, set within an elaborate Victorian foliate border. Manhattan is shown from Battery Park to 88th Street. Governors Island, Ellis Island, the U.S. Cob Dock and Blackwell Island (later renamed Roosevelt Island) are also shown. An inset map in the lower right titled “Continuation of the City & County of New York on a Reduced Scale” shows the rest of Manhattan from 86th Street north. The map of Brooklyn includes the downtown area surrounding the Navy Yard, as far south as Red Hook and as far north as Williamsburg and Greenpoint. A small portion of the relatively undeveloped Queens shoreline is also shown. The map shows parks, squares, streets, boat slips and railroads. 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. Although the Crystal Palace in midtown Manhattan had burned down in 1858, it is still shown on the map. This is the horizontal version of the Johnson atlas New York City map. A revised version, in a vertical format, was first published in 1865.

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 of Johnson’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 the Family Atlas published 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.

Numbered 29, upper left and 30, upper right.

Condition: Generally very good overall. Recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, center fold as issued now flattened as backed on Japanese tissue, with only minor remaining toning and wear.


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