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A gorgeous example of Johann Baptist Homann's map of the Northeast, extending north to include Maine and the St. Lawrence and south to include virtually all of New Jersey.

In the early 18th Century, German interest in North America and the prospect of colonization was very high. In response, Homann, Germany's leading map publisher, produced this detailed large format map of New England, with the intention of informing readers and educating would be immigrants on what to expect in New England. The map is an amalgam of Dutch and English sources. Perhaps most curious is the strait cutting across Cape Cod near Eastham. Several accounts and maps issued during the late 17th and early 18th Century indicated that a water passage dissected Cape Cod. Lake Champlain is shown in a much larger than accurate configuration, with a number of other mythical lakes in New York. East and West New Jersey are shown.

The map shows that as the number of English settlements increased in the area, Native American tribal names are notably less plentiful than on Dutch maps of the previous century. The decorative title cartouche shows a European bartering with an Indian for an animal pelt, one of the mainstays of the early New England economy. The cartouche also reveals what the European was offering for trade, including beads, a barrel (presumably filled with liquor), guns, hatchets, tools, and textiles.

Glorious decorative cartouche, soundings and a host of other details on land and sea.

McCorckle 724.1 (illustrating the later state); Goss #50; Portinaro & Knirsch pl. 116
Johann Baptist Homann Biography

Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) was a mapmaker who founded the famous Homann Heirs publishing company. He lived his entire life in Bavaria, particularly in Nuremberg. Initially, Johann trained to become a priest before converting to Protestantism and working as a notary.

In 1702, Johann founded a publishing house that specialized in engravings. The firm flourished, becoming the leading map publisher in Germany and an important entity in the European map market. In 1715, Johann was named Imperial Geographer to the Holy Roman Empire by Charles VI and made a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Most importantly for his business, his reputation and contacts gained him imperial printing privileges which protected his publications and recommended him to customers. Johann is best known for this Grosser Atlas ueber die ganze Welt, or the Grand Atlas of the World, published in 1716.

After Johann died in 1724, the business passed to his son, Christoph (1703-1730). Upon Christoph’s early death, the company passed to subsequent heirs, with the name of the company changing to Homann Erben, or Homann Heirs. The firm continued in business until 1848.