Rare (apparently unrecorded) "Otto Peltzer" edition of Blanchard's early issued map of the City of Chicago by Rufus Blanchard, one of the leading map makers in Chicago during the 19th Century.
Issued several years prior to the Great Filre of 1871, the Blanchard/Peltzer map provides a detailed and very early look at the City of Chicago, including a table showing the "Location of Additions and Subdivisions," of which more than 100 are located. Includes manuscript pencil notes at the bottom and left side, likely from an early owner.
The present map is extrmely rare, and we have only been able to locate one other example, in the collections of the Chicago Historical Society. While there are other maps by Blanchard with similar titles, dating from 1868 onwards, these maps are markedly different although they have a similar format. It is possible that Peltzer was responsible for the publication of the map, as it shows the Subdivisions and Additions within the City, which was Peltzer's primary area of responsibility in his official capcity with the City Public Works Department in Chicago from 1862 to 1876.
Otto Peltzer was a German born immigrant, who came to Chicago in 1850 at the age of 13. He first worked as an apprentice in a book-bindery as an apprentice. With this establishment was connected a small circulating library and German bookstore, situated on Wells Street, near Washington Street, which Mr. Peltzer attended in the evening as clerk.
In 1852, he took a a clerical job the real estate office of Horatio O. Stone, where he became a draughtsman of maps. In 1853, he began working in the Recorder's Office of the City of Chicago as recording draughtsman under Louis D. Hoard, then clerk of the Circuit Court. Mr. Peltzer remained until the spring of 1S57, when he left for St. Paul, Minn., taking a similar position in the recorder's office. He left there in the fall of the same year, returning to Chicago. After a brief attempt at practicing law, he moved to New Orleans, but remained only briefly before returning ot Chicago, where he took the the position of chief draughtsman in charge of the map department of the Board of Public Works, which he held from 1862 to 1876. Among his duties, Peltzer examined and approvedl or rejected all new subdivisions throughout the city, thus providing a more uniform system of streets, so far as this was possible at this late date. Here he also continued the compilation of the city atlases and the supervision of the river and dock surveys.
In 1869, Mr. Peltzer was elected collector of taxes of North Chicago, taking an active part in the "People's movement." . After the fire of 1871 and destruction of all the city and county records, Peltzer prepared for the City Public Works Department, new maps and records in the form of atlases, which he published in 1872, from copies of his own, inlcuding his important "Atlas of Chicago." The importance, immensity and usefulness of this work may be judged from the fact that he sold one hundred copies at $400 each.
Peltzer's atlas became the standard work in use in the city and county offices and in all real-estate agencies of this cit Peltzer was later elected on the Greeley ticket from the Chicago districts to the XXVIIIth State Assembly of 1872. He was the first to introduce a bill for compulsory education; another for a State Board of Health, and a bill for the general licensing of physicians and druggists, and another for surveyors. He also introduced many reforms in the laws for recording in the county records the routes and locations of new roads, streets and railroads, all of which were adopted. In 1875, Mr. Peltzer sold to the County of Cook a set of abstract books, in which he held a controlling interest, and this against the most labored opposition of the entire Chicago press. The acquisition under the provisions of the statutes of these valuable books by the county was intended as a partial relief from the monopoly theretofore existing in the abstract business.
Pelzer's books became the backbone of the abstract department of the recorder's office, [n December, 1876, he left the Board of Public Works, having been appointed deputy recorder of the county-a position which he held until April, 1878, when he resigned and opened his present abstract and title office.
Includes stamp of Wm. A. Harding, October 1871.