The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
New York, N.Y. 1840
Founded in 1826, and wound up in 1848, SDUK, as the Society was known, published inexpensive maps to encourage broad use in education. The aim of the Society was to reach as many people as possible.
One of their most widely read publications was the Penny Magazine. Maps were just another part of their publishing. The map committee was founded in 1828 with the first two maps published in 1829 under the title A Series of Maps, Modern and Ancient. Over a period of 14 years the series expanded to 209 plates with over 3 millions maps being sold.
Map: New York, N.Y. 1840
This superior reproduction of the map of “New York” was originally published in 1840. This is a very fine example from the fascinating and highly accurate series of maps issued in London between about 1830 and 1850 by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.
The map covers southern Manhattan from the Battery northwards to 42nd street as well as portions of adjacent Jersey City, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg. Governors Island and Ellis Island appear in the harbor. Massive proposed docks on the Hudson River, none of which actually materialized, as well as tentative landfills on the East Side and in Williamsburg are ghosted in.The Harlem Railroad is shown extending into the Bowery, as are the Albany, L Long Island, New York and Williamsburgh Ferries.
In Manhattan specifically no less than 40 important buildings are identified numerically and by a key in the upper right quadrant. In the lower quadrants engraved views illustrate ‘Broadway from the Park’, that being City Hall Park with Trinity Church clearly visible in the background, and City Hall itself. This map was printed for the S.D.U.K. Atlas.
Click on one of the maps below to view our entire map collection by The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.