Courtland Smith was an architect in Southampton, Long Island, working at that occupation for a remarkable 70 years, until he retired at age 95. In that capacity, he designed buildings around the world, including many in the Hamptons, where his clean, uncluttered style strongly influenced local architectural standards. Nonetheless, according to Smith’s obituary in the Southampton Press, his best-known work was the pictorial Map of Long Island, initially suggested by his friend Richard “Dick” Foster, the map’s publisher, as a “keep-busy project when he was out of work during the Great Depression,” and which has remained “a steady seller in gift shops throughout Long Island for more than 75 years.” Foster is credited on the cartouche as having compiled the historical information. At the time of Smith’s death, the mayor of Southampton commented that over the years the map has served as a reminder to Long Islanders of the region’s history: “That map has had a significant impact on the development of not only Southampton, but all the other towns on Long Island that it features.”
Smith was born in Southampton and returned to Long Island after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with an architecture degree in 1929. For many years thereafter he worked at large New York architectural firms, followed by design work for which he traveled worldwide. Notable projects with which he was associated include the Houston Astrodome, the Distant Early Warning (DEW Line) radar defense system in the Arctic, and foreign aid projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development. After many years spent living abroad, he returned to New York City in 1966, and moved to Southampton full-time in 1975, where he mentored younger architects in the architectural firm Pospisil & Brown, and actively participated in community and civic organizations.
There were various editions and reissues of this map, though the exact history is not known. As stated above, originally, the map was copyrighted and issued in 1933 and reissued with the additional date 1961. Various versions of both editions of the map exist, with differences in color saturation, tone, density, type of paper, etc., suggesting that it has been variously reprinted. For example, some are characterized by light blue and cream tones, and others with more orange, especially in the borders.
Condition: Varies with each one, as available. Most generally very good with the usual overall light toning, soiling, wear. Some mounted to board as issued. Some very fine overall with little wear. This map is shown above in an original plain wooden frame. Availability of examples in original frames varies.
“Obituary for Courtland Smith.” The Southampton Press. 10 March 2005. http://www.southamptonpress.com/inc/obits.ihtml?caption=&is=0310&imgObits=03-10-05.gif (2005).