This example of the map was distributed as a promotional item, according to a label pasted to the back of the map that advertises, “Compliments of Stanley Hod Elevator Co., Hoisting Machines for All Purposes” with a main office in the Chelsea section of New York, and branches in the Bronx, Morningside Heights (Upper Manhattan) and Baltimore, Maryland. In the lower right front corner of the map is a label advertising the publisher, August R. Ohman.
George J. Nostrand, a New York City lithographer and map publisher, published a similar map under his own imprint in about 1925 (online here), which follows the same format but adds buildings, labels and newer structures such as the Holland Tunnel and proposed George Washington Bridge. Nostrand may have acquired the design from Ohman; his business occupied the upper floors of 258 Broadway, where Ohman’s firm also operated until around 1925.
This map was issued during the heyday of drawn bird’s-eye views of American towns, which lasted from the Civil War to around 1910. Historians estimate that some 4,500 views were produced nationwide during that period. In an era before aviation, the creation of these panoramas was an act of imagination, combining information from city maps, ground-level sketches of buildings and the rules of Renaissance perspective into a convincing aerial view. Hand-drawn views were largely supplanted by aerial photographs from airplanes in the mid 20th century.
August R. Ohman was a map publisher, draftsman and engraver, operating in New York City from 1898 until around 1925. In 1898, the G.W. & C.B. Colton firm, which had been one of the major American map publishers of the second half of the 19th century, became Colton, Ohman & Co. and published under that name until about 1901. After 1901, Ohman published maps under the name August R. Ohman, advertising his firm as “successor to the Coltons.” Most of Ohman’s maps were of the New York City area: his bird’s-eye View of the City of New York and Vicinity (1902, 1907), a related Bird’s Eye View of Brooklyn (1908), a New Quick Reference Street Map of the Borough of Manhattan (1917) and a transit map of the IRT subway line (1925). Ohman also published a pocket Map of the United States Showing the Territorial Expansion of a Century: 1804-1904 (1904) and a Map of Maine (1905). By 1914, the Ohman Map Company had moved from 97-101 Warren Street, where it was located in 1902, to 258 Broadway. The George J. Nostrand map publishing company operated out of the same building in the 1920s and 1930s, and may have acquired some of Ohman’s designs; it published a very similar bird’s-eye view of New York and vicinity around 1925.
Full publication information: “Copyright, 1902 by August R. Ohman.”
Label pasted in lower right margin: “August R. Ohman (Successor to the Coltons)/ Map Publisher, Draughtsman and Engraver/ 97-101 Warren Street, New York/ (S.W. Cor. of Greenwich)/ Office and Salesroom on Fifth Floor.”
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling, soft creases. Formerly mounted on rollers, now professionally restored and deacidified, removed from rollers, rebacked on new linen, edges bound in white selvedge.
Brennan, Joseph. “Beach Pneumatic: 25.” Columbia University. 2004-2005. http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/beach/chapter25.html (4 June 2013).
“Compliments of Utica Daily Press Map of Cuba.” David Rumsey Map Collection. http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~222706~5505842:Compliments-Of-Utica-Daily-Press-Ma (4 June 2013).
Hébert, John R., ed., rev. by Patrick E. Dempsey. Panoramic Maps of Cities in the United States and Canada. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1984. Item 607.1.
“View of the City of New York and Vicinity.” Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/item/78692903 (4 June 2013).