Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Digging for Gold at the Library : Buried Treasure Maps

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian

The other day I was answering a reference question about steamship routes and it gave me a chance to visit one of my favorites sections of a library, the ol’ Gs, better known as "Geography (General). Atlases. Maps." As a Maritime Library, the expectation is that we would be more interested in charts than maps, and while there are some charts that are interesting to look at for reasons other than navigation, nothing beats a map in my book for unintentional art. Today’s library treasure is Derek Hayes’s Historical Atlas of California with Original Maps, published by University of California in 2007.

Look at this beautiful image from a map published by Bosqui Eng. & Print Co., in 1884. The map shows San Francisco in 1847. It’s such an idyllic view of the city- so quiet and unassuming. I’d wager it was a fairly easy map to drawn what with only 5 streets. Oh, to have great great-great grandparents who would have bought up a block or two!

This next map is a broadsheet which has information about going to the gold mines. It was published in 1849 by James Wyld and contains valuable advice such as, if you go the Chagres and Panama route, "Do not touch the oysters, wear flannel next to the skin by day and by night, avoid spirituous liquors and it is needless to say, be off the first opportunity."

They also call the climate of our region "remarkably healthy" which I would agree with on most days.

If you’d like to take a look at this book or any other book in the library, stop on by. I’m always up for a dig!

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