Boston. From An Impartial History of the War in America, between Great Britain and the United States... [1781.]. 11 5/8 x 6 1/4." A good, strong impression with some light soiling and minor ink smudging in the upper margin. Folds strengthened and lower blank margin reconstructed. Paper has tiny pin prick-sized holes. Matted. 11 5/8 x 6 1/4. Item #3659
A scarce Boston-printed map of Revolutionary War Boston, including details of the battle of Bunker Hill. The map appeared in the Boston printing of James Murray's history of the American Revolution. The history was first published in London in 1780 and then reprinted in Boston -- in three parts -- between 1781 and 1784.
The map depicts the position of the American and English forces, illustrates British ships firing on Charlestown and shows "Chalestown in Flames." The map is a close reengraving of the map that appeared in the English edition of Murray's history, which itself was based on a Sayer and Bennet map from 1775. (Norman did modify the English version of the map by adding the Liberty Tree on the Common; he also made a few changes to the wharves.)
This appears to be the first map of the Bunker Hill battle to have been printed in Boston. In addition to the Bunker Hill details, the map has a table at the lower right that provides a chronology of major fires in Boston, the town wards and a key to eleven prominent buildings.
John Norman, the engraver of the map, was an Englishman who began his career as an engraver and publisher in Philadelphia in about 1774. He moved to Boston around 1781 and died there in 1817. During his Boston years, Norman was a partner in (and the engraver for) the Boston Magazine, a periodical that achieved limited success during its run from October 1783 through December, 1786. Norman also partnered with Osgood Carleton in 1798 to publish the first official maps of Massachusetts and Maine, a project that was fraught with difficulties. Norman's skill as an engraver did not receive high marks, although Stauffer notes "[s]ome few of his later plates show decided improvement." (Stauffer, American Engravers Upon Copper and Steel: Volume 1, p. 193.)
References: Wheat & Brun, Maps and Charts Published in America before 1800: 241. Nebenzahl, A Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans of the American Revolution 1775-1795: 32. Boston Engineering Department, List of Maps of Boston Published Subsequent to 1600 (1904 edition): p. 27. Stauffer, American Engravers Upon Copper and Steel: 2360.