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Map, Washington, D.C., Ellicott, Russell, Antique Print, 1795


J. Russell (engraver)
Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia
from An American Atlas
H.D. Symonds and J. Ridgeway, London: 1795
Black and white engraving, with brown tint highlights
15.75 x 20.75 inches, including border
17.5 x 22 inches, overall

Plan of Washington, D.C., showing the layout of streets and avenues, bordered by the “Potomack” (Potomac) River and the Eastern Branch. Georgetown is separately labeled, northwest of Rock Creek. Reedy Branch and Tiber Creek are shown to the north. Maryland and Virginia are indicated but not shown in any detail. Each block is numbered, and the footprints (planned location and form) of a few major buildings including the “Capitol” and the “Presidents House” are labeled. The proposed landscape design for the Mall is indicated in more detail. The direction of the currents in the major rivers are indicated with arrows, the soundings in various locations are indicated by numbers, and a text titled “Remarks” in the upper left discusses the elevation of various locations in relation to the tide of Tiber Creek and how water might could be provided to the city. Contours of docks and slips are shown along the rivers. The map is illustrated with a cartouche showing two winged female figures flanking a shield and book on the left and an eight-pointed compass indicator surmounted by a fleur de lis, upper right. It includes a distance scale lower right and a distance “Scale of Poles” lower left.

Product description continues below.


This map is based on the 1792 plan originally published by Andrew Ellicott, a miller and surveyor living in Maryland. George Washington commissioned a survey of the city from Ellicott in 1791, and the following year asked him to complete the city plan originated by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, to which Ellicott made some modifications. In 1795, two versions of this map were published. John Reid in the United States published a version of Ellicott’s map engraved by William Rollinson, and the map was one of nine published in London as An American Atlas, and engraved by John Russell. Scholars disagree whether Reid copied Russell’s map or vice versa.

Cartouche: “Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia ceded by the States of Virginia and Maryland to the United States of America, and by them established as the Seat of their Government, after the year 1800.”


The Perpendicular height of the source of the Tiber Creek above the level of the Tide in the sand Creek } 236.7.3/8

The Perpendicular height of the West branch above the tide in Tiber Creek } 115.7.3/8

The Perpendicular height of the ground where the Capitol is to stand is above the tide of Tiber Creek } 78.0.0

The water of Tiber Creek may be conveyed on the high ground where the Capitol stands, and after watering that part of the City, may be destined to other useful purposes.

Reedy Branch and that of the Tiber may be conveyed to the Presidents House.”

Full publication information: “J. Russell, Sculpt Constitu. Row Grays Inn Road.”

Condition: Generally good with the usual overall light toning, wear soft creases. Few folds as issued, minor losses at intersections, and irregular horizontal crease in upper portion, professionally flattened, stabilized and restored as backed on Japanese tissue. Some short margins, as issued, professionally tipped in and similarly restored as re-backed.


“Item No. 5160 [John Reid Plan of Washington].” David Rumsey Collection. (30 January 2007).

Ristow, Walter W. American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the 19th Century. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1985.p. 153.

Additional information


18th Century