Cartography Crazed: Historical Maps

Let me come right out and say it – I am a big nerd. I studied art history and history in college, so working with Gallery Direct, I get to geek out on our amazing collection of Old Masters, like Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, our modern masters like Vincent van Gogh and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and of course our incredible collection of vintage posters, advertisements, and other cool memorabilia.

But I just hit the jackpot.

The team here at Gallery Direct has recently begun an effort to bring you a wide array of historical maps, and I have to tell you, I am just crazy about them. Most of our maps are from the nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century, and are as beautiful as they are intriguing.

Studying historical maps is such an interesting experience. Not only are you seeing a glimpse of what once was, but how people thought about the world. I am currently lusting over this incredible 1870 map of New York. Being a native New Yorker living in Austin, Texas, seeing this map every day is a great reminder of home, as well as the city’s intricate history. I just had to have it!

 

These gorgeous maps are the perfect way to decorate your home. If you’re like me and living away from your hometown, you can commemorate your roots in style.

Overtaken by wanderlust? Dreaming of traveling? Pick a handful of your favorite cities to put on display as a reminder of your memories abroad, or your future travel aspirations!

Many of our American panoramic maps were designed by Albert Ruger, a Prussian immigrant who served with the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War. During the war, he started drawing pictures of Union campsites. After the war ended, he settled down in Michigan and began his career in mapmaking by sketching maps of the cities of Michigan. He soon became very successful, and in the 1860s, formed a partnership with another American mapmaker, J.J. Stoner, and together, they published dozens of the panoramic maps that we have available to grace your walls today. The printing company Currier & Ives is also responsible for a good portion of our maps, another nineteenth-century outfit that helped pioneer the American panoramic map.

I personally feel so lucky to be able to work so closely with these little slices of history on a daily basis, and even more fortunate to be able to see them printed in such high quality! I suggest checking them out on birchwood, one of the many awesome materials that we print on.

Are you as ga-ga for geography as I am? What cities inspire you?

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