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A Map of New England

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A Map of New England Woodcut

This is first map known to have been published in the English colonies of North America, and it is probably the first map published in the Western Hemisphere. This map has been attributed to John Foster, who printed William Hubbard's Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians in which A Map of New England appeared. Foster is thought to have been the only man in Boston to have made woodcuts during that period. The layout of the map might be slightly disorienting to researchers because it depicts the western part of New England along the top of the page and the northern regions (including the White Hills of what is now New Hampshire) along the right side.

A controversy arises because another version of the map, possibly also cut in Boston by Foster, was inserted in the London edition of Hubbard's work, re-titled The Present State of New-England, which was published within a few months of the Boston edition. The two versions of the map differ mainly in some of the text that appears on the map. The American edition of Hubbard's Narrative contains the version known as the "White Hills" map; in the other version, the White Hills of New Hampshire are identified as the "Wine Hills."

The two versions of the map have perplexed bibliographers for more than a century. The problem for historians of printing and map collectors has been to determine the order in which the maps were printed, and if they were cut by the same engraver--John Foster. After more than a century of examination these questions are not entirely settled; what is known is that the Historical Society's copy of the "White Hills" map is unique, as it contains a symbol for an unnamed town that appears on no other surviving copy of this version.

This map is oriented with north to the right. The upper right corner is comprised of the inscription: "A MAP OF NEW-ENGLAND, Being the first that ever was here cut, and done by the best Pattern that could be had, which being in some places defective, it made the other less exact: yet doth it sufficiently shew the Scituation of the Country, and conveniently well the distance of Places. The figures that are joyned with the Names of Places are to distinguish such as have been assaulted by the Indians from others."