April 2014 Newsletter
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April 29, 2014 

After the worst winter in recent memory, signs of spring are finally sprouting through Cape Cod's sandy soil! When visitors step into 1409 Main Street in Chatham, it's obvious that Maps of Antiquity co-owner Robert Zaremba has done his cartographic homework. But did you know that he also holds a PhD. in botany and also happens to be an avid gardener? If you've visited us in the springtime, you likely suspected as much without even walking through the door!

{ Iris Reticulata }
Stop in and see Bob (and the rest of the Maps of Antiquity team, too!) for your seasonal dose of marvelous old maps and beautiful brand new blossoms! We're here every day between 10am and 5pm, and we'd love to show you around!
News of Our New Newsletters
Earlier in the month we sent out a quick three-question survey to see how we might best impart our oh-so-abundant cartographic insights to all interested parties.  Perhaps you were among our many gracious respondents!  Of those, Shannon Griscom was randomly selected to win a $25.00 gift certificate!  Three huzzahs for Shannon!  The rest of you can still feel awesome about the impact of your input; because the results were so very close, we've decided to divide our contact list according to the wishes of each respondent.  Pats on the back all around! 

If you're reading this version of our newsletter, you will receive brief emails more frequently. If you would prefer longer, less frequent newsletters from us, simply reply to this email and say so, and that's just what you'll get! You will also be informed ASAP of our recent acquisitions, while those on our other list will be kept abreast of only the juiciest new pieces which we, no doubt, will be unable to resist bragging about in our longer newsletters. If at any point you should you wish to hear from us less often, let us know! Help us to help YOU learn as much (or as little) as you'd like about our beloved antique maps! 
In related news about news, we are currently hard at work adding previously-penned articles to our ever expanding website, which will grow to become a weblog of sorts. Now you needn't lose sleep over a missed newsletter, because each article will be available for your amusement and edification whenever you wish to read it! Are there burning cartographic questions that you'd like for us to answer? Drop us a line or two and we'll do so with pleasure! 

Caring for Your Antique Ephemera   



No, you needn't feed or walk them, but knowing how best to care for antique paper goods will keep them in tip-top shape. Follow a few simple rules, and your antique ephemera will fascinate friends and family members for centuries to come. 
  • First, be sure that your antique maps and prints have been framed using exclusively acid-free, archival, conservation and/or museum-quality materials. Not sure if what's on your wall fits that bill? Leave it to the experts! We now offer both formal appraisals and informal assessments right in our Chatham shop. If your collection is too vast to transport (lucky you!), we even send Bob out on occasional house calls! And should your antique maps or prints find themselves in need of some custom, conservation-quality framing, you might say we've got them covered.    
  • Though rolling makes for safe transportation, antique ephemera should ideally be stored flat. Keeping antique paper rolled poses a greater risk of creasing or crushing delicate paper, which can literally crumble under the wrong conditions. Show pieces should be framed (see above) and the rest should be relegated to a designated drawer or flat file where it won't be bumped or bothered.  
  • Avoid extremes of humidity. Too little of it, and old paper becomes brittle and prone to breakage. Too much humidity, on the other hand, makes way for all manner of mold. Depending upon the environment and season, humidifiers or dehumidifiers may be necessary for the maintenance of happy old maps. As an added bonus, you may also notice a dramatic increase in good hair days.   
  • Lastly, do you need an excuse to admire your collection? Well, here you have it! While it's best not to handle unprotected ephemera too much, you must check in with your maps periodically. Nasty little arthropods, such as silverfish, have been known to munch straight through adhesives and then  stick around to snack on paper. Take a peek from time to time to make sure your maps aren't lonely-- or somebody's lunch.  

ephemera \i-ˈfe-mər-ə, -ˈfem-rə\ plural noun- 
paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity but have since become collectibles
Origin: late 16th century: plural of ephemeron, from Greek, neuter of ephēmeros 'lasting only a day'. As a singular noun the word originally denoted a plant said by ancient writers to last only one day, or an insect with a short lifespan, and hence was applied (in the late 18th century) to a person or thing of short-lived interest. Current use has been influenced by plurals such as trivia and memorabilia.  -Oxford Dictionary


Cape Cod's Native Cartographer:
Geo. W. Eldridge
In 1854, Chatham's very own George Eldridge published the first edition of Eldridge's Pilot for Vineyard Sound and Monomoy Shoals.  The 32 page, grey, paper-covered volume, which had no recorded price, was devoted to nautical "dangers," and embellished with his personal, oft-amusing observations. Chart C, shown below, even includes a note about the town he called home. 
*Eldridge the chart-maker born here.

In 1870, George Eldridge sent his son to Vineyard Haven to peddle his father's books and charts. Young George was only too pleased to relocate, as Vineyard Haven was, at that time, second only to the English Channel as the busiest harbor in all the world. It was not uncommon to see as many as one hundred schooners anchored off the coast awaiting a favorable current. Ever the burgeoning entrepreneur, George Junior set off in a catboat to sell his father's charts from boat to boat. During these transactions, mariners often wished to know when the current would turn to run East or West in the Sound. The Younger George made careful observations, and one day, while in the ship chandlery of Charles Holmes, he set down the first draft of a tide table that remains in use to this day.  

With the help of the elder Eldridge, Young George devised tide tables for each of the harbors he visited. First published in 1875, the Eldridge tide table became the indispensable book for all who sailed the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean. At a time when countless vessels foundered and met sad ends among the hidden rocks and shifting shoals, Eldridge constantly updated his publications to help fellow seafarers navigate unusual currents into the safety of well-mapped harbors. It's impossible to say just how many sailors this father and son team saved from a watery grave, but their legacy of careful observation is still carried out by their descendants, and when we look upon their charts in our shop, we can't help but be proud that both Eldridges called our quaint little seaside town their home.

Caption Re: Eldridge Map
Book Review:  



The introduction opens with a warning:
"This is the most improbable, incomplete and incorrect atlas you're ever likely to hold in your hands. But it's also-- hopefully-- one of the funniest, most surprising collections of maps ever to be contained within the covers of a book... and somewhat instructive to boot!" 
What follows does not disappoint. 
In addition to exploring indisputably imaginary lands like Oz,  Frank Jacobs explores some interesting once-held cartographic beliefs. There was a 1918 theory that our planet Earth was rapidly spinning itself into a tetrahedron, for example. Also addressed is the once-pervasive misconception that California was an island. Though our own 1752 Carte Generale Des Decouvertes de Admiral de Fonte(which shows an entirely fictional Sea of the West), was not featured, many other speculative maps are shown in all of their laughably misguided glory. We were shocked (no, not really) to discover that this comparative map, a Table of the Comparative Heights of the Principal Mountains &c. in the World, which we currently have in stock, is outrageously outdated! Mountain heights may not have changed much since 1831, but the accuracy of our measurements quite thankfully has!
Conversely, this Diagram Exhibiting the Difference of Time Between the Places Shown and Washington must have been awfully useful way back in 1860 when it was published. Before the standardization of time zones, it was noon in your city when the sun was directly overhead. Period. The Standard Time System wasn't devised until 1883, when railroad bosses got tired of trying to draw up train schedules based on the sun.
This fabulous volume is the sort that can be enjoyed sequentially or thumbed-through until your fancy is tickled by one of the many full-color images. We highly recommend picking up a copy, or visiting the author's blog for fascinating images and explanations of cartograms, anthropomorphic maps, political propaganda maps, and countless other cartographic curiosities. Enjoy!
Maps of Antiquity | info@mapsofantiquity.com | 1409 Main Street
Chatham, Cape Cod, MA 02633

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