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Map, New York City, Brooklyn, Pocket Plan, William Hooker, Antique Print, 1827

E.C. Ward, U.S.N.S. (compiler and surveyor)
William Hooker (1782-1856) (engraver)
Hooker’s New Pocket Plan of the Village of Brooklyn
William Hooker, New York: 1827
Hand-colored engraving
14.75 x 18.5 inches, image
16.25 x 20.5 inches overall
Price on request

This early map of the Village of Brooklyn is one the first to show it in significant detail just 11 years after its incorporation in 1816. It includes neighborhoods along the East River known today as Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and Brooklyn Navy Yard — the US Navy Yard is shown on this map with individual buildings. ­Buttermilk Channel and part of Governor’s Island are shown lower left, and opposite shoreline in lower Manhattan labeled “Part of the City of New York” shows the Battery, Castle Garden, docks, and the streets fronting the river. Early-19th-century maps of Brooklyn such as this are rare. We have identified only two institutional examples of the 1827 Hooker Pocket Plan of Brooklyn: at the University of Michigan and the Brooklyn Historical Society. Yale University Library has a version of the 1827 map called Hooker’s Map of the Village of Brooklyn with a simpler cartouche and without the legend information that is on the version shown here. The 1838 final edition of Hooker’s map of Brooklyn is slightly more common.

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Description

In the area of focus on the map, political wards are numbered and outlined and partially tinted with hand coloring. Ferry lines, boat slips, some buildings, windmills, watering places, and features such as an area “Dry at Low Water” and Mill Pond are shaded and labeled, and there are depth soundings in the river. A key above the cartouche lists places for public worship, municipal and public buildings, schools, banks, insurance companies, lodges, gardens, and hotels. Below the cartouche is a mileage scale and above it is a compass indicator.  Some businesses are also labeled on the map. In Manhattan, William Hooker’s Nautical Store, T.H. Smith & Son’s East India House, and Todd’s Oil & Candle Manufactory are featured. To the southeast, the “Road to Jamaica” is shown, which branches to roads to Gowanus and to Flatbush. At Castle Garden a caption commemorates Lafayette’s Landing on August 16th, 1824, when he returned to America to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Revolutionary War, an important event in 1820s New York.

This map is of additional interest as being among the first to show the Brooklyn’s oldest African American church — the African Methodist Episcopal Church on High Street. This church was built in 1818, but the history of the congregation goes back much earlier than that; the first African Methodist Episcopal sermons, held by Captain Webb, were conducted in downtown Brooklyn beginning in 1766. The congregation is still in existence as the Bridge Street African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church.

Among the other details shown on the map are ferries linking Brooklyn and Manhattan: Fulton Ferry (day and night); New Ferry; Navy Yard Ferry; Ferry to Williamsburg; and the “Contemplated New South Ferry” (not yet established). Other places of public worship listed are St. Ann’s Episcopal Church; St. John’s Episcopal Church; Naval Chapel, U.S. Navy Yard; Presbyterian Church; Reformed Dutch Church; Baptist Church; Methodist Church; Methodist Church [another]; and Roman Catholic Church. Only three schools are shown: U.S. Naval School, U.S. Navy Yard; Whiting & Seymur Academy; and “A. Hageman’s Male & Female.”

William Hooker was an engraver, particularly of maps and charts. He moved from Philadelphia to Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1805 and worked there with Gideon Fairman, a banknote engraver. In 1810 he returned to Philadelphia, and then to New York City in 1815, where he started as an apprentice to Edmund March Blunt (1770-1862), the publisher of the American Coastal Pilot and seller of nautical books, charts and instruments. Hooker married Blunt’s daughter and took over the business when Blunt retired in 1822. He remained active in New York City until 1846 as a map engraver, printer, and publisher, best known for his pocket plans of the New York City and Brooklyn.

Full publication information: New York. Published By William Hooker, Proprietor, and Author of the New Pocket Plan of the City of New York, &c. 202 Water Street. December 10th 1827.

Condition: Generally very good, original issued folded, now recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, also flattened, with light remaining toning, wear, handling.

References:

“E. & G.W. Blunt.” Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University. http://waywiser.fas.harvard.edu/people/72/e–g-w-blunt (13 August 2021).

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. 325.

“Hooker’s Map of the Village of Brooklyn…1827.” Yale University Library. https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/15753366 (13 August 2021).

Additional information

Century

19th Century