history of the mapping of New England in New England begins
with a controversy. In 1677, two editions of William Hubbard's
Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians appeared
in printthe first issued in Boston and another, within
a few months, released in London. Each book included a map,
both entitled A Map of New-England, but varying in
some particulars. Most prominently, in the American printing
the White Hills of New Hampshire are labeled as such; in the
English version, they carry the name "Wine Hills."
Boston release was, apparently, the first map published in
the English colonies of North America and probably the first
map published in the Western Hemisphere. Historians attribute
the piece to John Foster, the printer responsible for the
American edition of Hubbard's Narrative and also, most
likely, the only engraver working in Boston at that time.
The two versions of the map have perplexed bibliographers
for more than a century. Map collectors and historians of
printing continue to puzzle over the exact chronology of the
printing and the question of authorshipspecifically,
whether John Foster engraved both versions.
Massachusetts Historical Society owns copies of the American
and English printings of A Map of New-England. Its
copy of the "White Hills" map is unique in that
it contains a symbol for an unnamed town (at the lower left
corner of the map between "Seaconk" and "Plimouth")
that appears on no other surviving copy of this version.
MHS collections include more than 5,000 historical maps and
charts, 200 early atlases that contain separately printed
maps, and many early printed books illustrated with maps.