By: J.W. Otley
Date: 1852 (published) Philadelphia
Dimensions: 25.25 x 36.5 inches
This is a rare and most interesting folding pocket map of Pennsylvania from just after the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1882, John Melish had produced an official state map of Pennsylvania that is considered to be one of the high points of the nineteenth century, American mapmaking. Based on detailed maps for each county, Melish's map set a standard for all maps to follow. Almost three decades later, William E. Morris was commissioned by the state legislature to update the Melish map, and this he did using Melish's as a base, with the new information added by the engraver Edward Yeager. This very large Melish-Morris map was issued by Philadelphia publisher R.L. Barnes in 1848.
Within just a few years, J.W. Otley, about whom little is known, produced another large state map, probably based on his own surveys. The Otley map was reduced and issued in 1852 by R.L. Barnes and then again in 1853. This is a fine example of that first issue. As noted in the title, this map specifically was intended to illustrate the then rapidly developing railroad network in Pennsylvania. This may be the reason that Barnes used Otley's map for his new publication instead of the Melish-Morris map in order to show this important transportation information which the earlier mapping would not have contained. This map does show very detailed information on the railroads throughout, as well as roads, towns, rivers, and much other topography. It would have made a fine traverler's map for reference by businessmen.
Condition: This map is in B condition, issued folding, now flat with original hand coloring. Trimmed to neat line as issued, with wear at bottom right edge. Several existing fold separations have been reinforced on the verso using archival materials.
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