Scarce map of North America by Gussefeld, which is most noteworthy for the many annotations and fascinating place names in the Western United States.
Among the more interesting notes is a lengthy note near Salt Lake regarding its discovery by Hr Laurence in 1790 and 1791 (a mythical journey to California reported in several other maps during the period) and several annotations in the Arctic Sea regardng the explorations of Hearne and MacKenzie. Along the Rocky Mountains, there are several references to Mr. Fidler, which trace the route of Peter Fidler, a 24 year old trader and surveyor with the Hudson Bay Company. Fidler travelled exensively in 1790-1792 through the region north of what was then believed to be the source of the Missouri River. The map also includes a number of unique place names along the West Coast of North America.
The map is scarce, with no examples having been offered in dealer catalogues in the past 25 years. We could only locate a reference to the example in the Library of Congress. Streeter dismissed the map as being out of date in many respects (Streeter 241), but ironically goes on to discuss an 1801 manuscript copy of the Peter Fidler map as showing a knowledge of the Missouri sources which was greater than the information of our geographers at the time (referring to Fidler's use of information obtained from the Blackfoot Indians). Streeter also notes that the Fidler map was of great importance to Arrowsmith in drawing up his map of North America in 1802 (Streeter 249).
It is indeed ironic that Streeter treated Gussefeld's map lightly and apparently missed entirely the inclusion of the Peter Fidler expedition 5 years before Arrowsmith's map was published.
Homann Heirs was a German publishing firm that enjoyed a major place in the European map market throughout the eighteenth century. Founded in 1702 by Johann Baptist Homann, the business passed to his son, Christoph, upon Johann’s death in 1724. Christoph died in 1730, aged only 27, and the firm was inherited by subsequent Homann heirs. This altered the name of the company, which was known as Homann Erben, or Homann heirs. The firm continued in business until 1848.