Courtesy Boston Public Library, Boston, MA Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
Norman and Coles published this “accurate map of the four New England States” in 1785, one year before the Massachusetts Regulation, or Shays’ Rebellion. The map ranks among the most important early maps published in the United States. It is the first American wall map, and was the earliest accurate survey of the New England region published in the new nation. It shows “in a distinct manner all the mountains, forts, Rivers, Swamps, Marshes, Bays, Creeks, & Harbors, with the Public Roads as well as The Boundary of State Lines, The Several Townships, and other divisions of the Land In These Four States.” Very few maps of any kind were published before 1790 due to a chronic lack of trained surveyors, engravers and printers in the new United States. The Norman and Coles map used information from several earlier maps and coastal charts published in England to create the 1785 map. Since it predates statehood for Maine (1820) and Vermont (1791), the map identifies only four New England states: Massachusetts (including Maine), New Hampshire (including Vermont counties), Rhode Island, and Connecticut.