Mapping New England – Item 4 of 5

William Douglass. This Plan of the British Dominions of New England in North America, Composed from Actual Surveys, [1755]
Courtesy Library of Congress Map and Geography Division
A Scottish physician who arrived in Boston in 1718, Douglass drew this map by combining hundreds of local surveys with observations from his own “perambulations.” It outlines township boundaries and treats river systems in detail, both firsts for a map of New England. Such a detailed map could only have been produced by a resident with strong personal connections throughout the region and the ability to dig through local records. Douglass intended to distribute it free of charge to every town depicted but died before publication. It was instead engraved in London and published by his executors.


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