by Richard McKinstry

Maps tell us how to get from point A to point B or give us details about what a particular landscape or cityscape looks like. Because of changes in road systems and alterations in the natural and manmade environment, they can be out of date in a relatively short time; thus, they are truly ephemeral in nature. Maps exist for a variety of purposes: to show us roads and railroads, to reveal the most recent finds as the result of exploration, to help sailors navigate the oceans and seas, to record construction details for insurance purposes, to help stage battles in war, to chart geological and mining details, to record the progress of immigration, and the list goes on. Small illustrative vignettes often appear on maps, and sometimes maps are wholly pictorial, such as the ones produced by Charles Magnus. Today's collectors value maps for their artistic merit, as well as for what they can tell us about the physical development of America.

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America