civicatlas

the Civic Atlas of North America

Montreal, Canada · 308 Sales

civicatlas

the Civic Atlas of North America

Montreal, Canada 308 Sales On Etsy since 2014

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Announcement   THE CIVIC ATLAS OF NORTH AMERICA sells high quality copies of an almost-forgotten thing: 19th and early 20th century panoramic bird's eye view maps of North American cities. From the 1860s through the 1920s a few hundred illustrators toured the United States and Canada producing more than 3500 views like these, but nowadays originals are extraordinarily expensive and difficult to access. What we offer is the next best thing. While the Atlas isn't a professional restorer, a "real" art collector, or pretending to be an archivist, it is a sleuth and printer motivated to get these images seen and spread. Their beauty, detail, and importance call for a greater audience than they're currently reaching.

Announcement

Last updated on May 10, 2017

THE CIVIC ATLAS OF NORTH AMERICA sells high quality copies of an almost-forgotten thing: 19th and early 20th century panoramic bird's eye view maps of North American cities. From the 1860s through the 1920s a few hundred illustrators toured the United States and Canada producing more than 3500 views like these, but nowadays originals are extraordinarily expensive and difficult to access. What we offer is the next best thing. While the Atlas isn't a professional restorer, a "real" art collector, or pretending to be an archivist, it is a sleuth and printer motivated to get these images seen and spread. Their beauty, detail, and importance call for a greater audience than they're currently reaching.

Raymond Biesinger

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Raymond Biesinger

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About

About

The Civic Atlas of North America is a side project of Canadian illustrator and artist Raymond Biesinger, whose own illustrated work has been in everything from the New Yorker to Le Monde to the Guardian and beyond. Essentially, the Atlas is a research project that locate and distribute high quality copies of an almost-forgotten thing: 19th and early 20th century panoramic bird's eye view maps of cities in Canada and the United States.

To get you up to speed on the phenomena, from the 1860s through to 1910s a few dozen illustrators (mostly American) toured Canada and the United States and produced an estimated 3500 bird's-eye views like those shown in this shop. While you can find copies of many of these maps here or there via institutions like the Library and Archives Canada, the US Library of Congress, and various excellent archives and historical associations, originals are ridiculously expensive and display copies are typically difficult to access.

What is on offer here is the next best thing. The Atlas isn't a professional restorer, a "real" art collector, or even pretending to be an archivist. It's thoroughly amateur, motivated by the thought that getting these images seen and spread is a good thing. Too often these maps are encountered by only academics and specialists. Those academics and specialists are why these maps still exist, but their beauty, detail, and importance are worthy of a much wider audience than they're currently reaching.

For more information on these these (and other) maps, please consult: the ACMLA, Biblioteque et Archives Nationales du Québec, the Brock University Archives, the City of Vancouver Archives, Illustratedvancouver.ca, Library & Archives Canada, the Library of Congress, the McMaster University Archives, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Centre, Oldtorontomaps.blogspot.ca, Queens University Archives, the Urban History Review, etc.

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  • Raymond Biesinger

    Owner, Curator

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