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"Beaver Map" Map of the Dominions of the King Of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America: Herman Moll 1715

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  • Title:  A New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America
  • Author: Herman Moll
  • Date: 1715 (First State)
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Superb engraving, deep and richly inked consistent with early plate use. Chipping to margins, uppermost horizontal fold strengthened on verso with negligible loss, all skillfully reinstated and restored.
  • Product ID: 409537

Moll's Celebrated Beaver Map in True First Sate

Full Title: A New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America. Containing Newfoundland, New Scotland, New England, New York, New Jersey, Pensilvania, Maryland, Virginia and Carolina | Sold by H. Moll over against Deverux Court in the Strand.

Spectacular example of the first and rarest of the Moll Beaver map states. Shows the British territories in North America, two sheets joined, verso blank. Title set in a plain cartouche at upper center, armorial dedicatory cartouche to Walter Dowglass centering the map. Inset maps of "the Improved Part of Carolina," "the South Part of Carolina, and the East Part of Florida," "ye Town and Harbour of Charles-Town," and "the Principal Part of North America," large inset vignette of "ye Industry of ye Beavers of Canada”. Extensive notations through map and insets describing political, geographic, postal and other divisions.

Moll's so-called Beaver map was published in his world atlas of 1715, and is "among the first and most important documents relating to the ongoing dispute between France and Great Britain over boundaries separating their respective American Colonies", Pritchard/Taliafero Degrees of latitude 19 state 1. It shows the British position following the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, when Britain acquired the Atlantic seaboard of North East America. It is also considered the first postal map of the American colonies.

The most memorable feature is the large vignette which gives the map its popular name. The beaver inset has often been seen to be an allegory of the way that the division of labor was laid out in Europe, but was in fact borrowed by De Fer from Hennepin's view of Niagara falls in his 1697 account of his Travels, and used by De Fer in his 1698 wall map and again by Moll and other map makers to enliven their North American maps.

In 1989, an unrecorded version of the 1715 example with a poorly-drawn Nova Scotia was acquired and catalogued by the National Archives of Canada, and subsequently confirmed as the first printing of the first state. It is surmised that Moll quickly corrected his mistake, and published another version in 1715 with the same legend: “Sold by H. Moll over against Deverux Court in the Strand," and a more accurate Nova Scotia as shown on all later states and editions.

Literature: Cumming, 'Southeast', p. 158; Boynton-Williams, ; Map Collector, 47, Summer 1989 (52)

Herman Moll was an immigrant from Germany who became a prominent London mapmaker over a career that spanned fifty years. He is first recorded as working as an engraver for Moses Pitt on the production of the English Atlas, and later set up shop on his own. He befriended many of the leading intellectuals of the day