1862 Johnson’s Maine

1862 Johnson's Maine
mockup of Johnson’s Maine from the 1862 edition of Johnson’s New Illustrated Family Atlas

This is one of the first maps my wife and I selected for our Old Parlor Prints store’s offerings.  This beautiful Johnson’s Maine map is taken from the 1862 edition of his Illustrated Family Atlas. The atlas plate covers the entire state along with portions of Canada and New Hampshire.  I remember getting this map ready to scan in 2016 and prep for digital retouching.  I really marveled at how the colors were still pretty strong for an atlas almost 150 years old.  The previous owner was a heavy smoker, though.  (Ugh.)

In case you’re wondering, Johnson’s Atlas maps were actually drawn upon Colton maps: note the color coding according to county and notations for railways, roadways, cities, towns, and river systems were virtually identical. It wasn’t meant to be a cheap knock, though. A.J. Johnson another business partner, bought the rights to Colton’s maps. There is speculation as to how the deal was struck, but A.J. Johnson was shrewd.  From my understanding, he actually transferred Colton’s steel plates to stone for the actual printing; this allowed more printings at a cheaper cost, but I assume the stone plates didn’t last as long.  I’m going to say you could consider the Atlas maps lithographs in reality. (I’ll have to research that a bit more…)  After printing the of Atlas map pages, the maps were hand-painted.

If you look closely, the 1862 Johnson’s Maine has “barbed wire” style border that was common to the 1861 to 1863 editions. If you follow this blog later on, you’ll see maps we have in our collection from the 1864 and 1870 editions.  The decorative borders changed a few times .  I’m not sure how I would describe the second border (used 1864 – 1869) other than to say it’s grill-like.  The third border, used during the 1870s, is rather Spirograph-like.

Like this 1862 Johnson’s Maine map reprint? You can get a copy from us here.

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