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‘Made in Boston’ Opens at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library

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New exhibition features colonial North America treasures created in Boston

The exhibition Made in Boston opens at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Publimapc Library on Friday, November 8. This exhibition brings together, for the first time in decades, a majority of maps made in Boston in the century before the American Revolution.

Made in Boston is a significant contribution to the history of American map making and printing; each map details this historic time period and brings to life the unique stories of colonial Bostonians and people throughout North America,” said Ronald Grim, Curator of Maps.

Boston was the metropolis of Great Britain’s North American colonies, with one of the largest economies of any urban center through the 1750s and the leading producer of printed maps. Boston achieved major milestones in map making, including the first map printed in the colonies as well as the earliest city map, battle plan, and map engraved on copper. The exhibition, curated by Michael Buehler of Boston Rare Maps in conjunction with the staff of the Map Center, runs through March 10, 2014 in the Leventhal Map Center inside the Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street.

Utilizing 29 objects, including views, nautical charts, and surveying instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries, this exhibition showcases maps and other visual materials made in Boston during the colonial period. Remarkable for their unconventional style and contributions to geographical knowledge, these maps also afford a unique perspective on the ambitions, anxieties, and sense of identity that enlivened colonial Bostonians: pride in their flourishing city, the hazards of navigating New England’s coast, disputes over land ownership, and struggles with the native inhabitants and French for mastery of North America.

The Leventhal Map Center is open Monday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.


The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center is ranked among the top 10 map centers in the United States for the size of its collection, the significance of its historic (pre-1900) material, and its advanced digitization program. It is unique among the major collections because it also combines these features with exceptional educational and teacher training programs to advance geographic literacy among students in grades K-12 and enhance the teaching of subjects from history to mathematics to language arts. The collection is also the second largest in the country located in a public library, ensuring unlimited access to these invaluable resources for scholars, educators, and the general public. The Leventhal Map Center, created in 2004, is a nonprofit organization established as a public-private partnership between the Boston Public Library and philanthropist Norman Leventhal. Its mission is to use the Boston Public Library’s permanent collection of 200,000 maps and 5,000 atlases and a select group of rare maps collected by Mr. Leventhal for the enjoyment and education of all through exhibitions, educational programs, and a website that includes thousands of digitized maps at The map collection is global in scope, dating from the 15th century to the present, with a particular strength in maps and atlases of Boston, Massachusetts, and New England.

Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, a literacy center, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in America, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit

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Map above from “Draught of Boston Harbor by Capt. Cyprian Southake,” Augustine Fitzhugh, 1694. Manuscript copy of original, 1884.