Map of the Week: Society For The Diffusion Of Useful Knowledge, New York, N.Y., 1840

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.

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at the Met

February 26–May 27, 2013

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity will present a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries. Some eighty major figure paintings, seen in concert with period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs, and popular prints, will highlight the vital relationship between fashion and art during the pivotal years, from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world. With the rise of the department store, the advent of ready-made wear, and the proliferation of fashion magazines, those at the forefront of the avant-garde—from Manet, Monet, and Renoir to Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Zola—turned a fresh eye to contemporary dress, embracing la mode as the harbinger of la modernité. The novelty, vibrancy, and fleeting allure of the latest trends in fashion proved seductive for a generation of artists and writers who sought to give expression to the pulse of modern life in all its nuanced richness. Without rivaling the meticulous detail of society portraitists such as Tissot or Stevens or the graphic flair of fashion plates, the Impressionists nonetheless engaged similar strategies in the making (and in the marketing) of their pictures of stylish men and women that sought to  reflect the spirit of their age.

Click on the images below to explore more art on by Monet, Manet, Renoir and Tissot.



Happy Birthday Norman Rockwell!

In honor of Norman Rockwell’s birthday we will be offering 40% off his collection beginning Sunday, February 3rd until Tuesday, February 5th, 11:59 p.m. (CST)    Click on the images to view our entire Norman Rockwell collection available on


Norman Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894 in New York City.  When Rockwell was only 14, he enrolled in art classes at The New York School of Art . In 1910, he left high school to study art at The National Academy of Design.  He soon transferred to The Art Students League, where he studied with Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman.

Rockwell painted his first commission of four Christmas cards before he turned 16. While still in his teens, he was hired as art director of Boys’ Life, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, and began a successful freelance career illustrating a variety of young people’s publications. Rockwell continued to paint for the Boy Scouts for the rest of his life.

In 1916, he created the first of his 321 covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Some of his most iconic covers included the 1927 celebration of Charles Lindbergh’s crossing of the Atlantic. After President Franklin Roosevelt  made a speech to Congress in 1941 describing the “four essential human freedoms,” Rockwell created paintings of the four freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. He completed the paintings in six months in 1942, and they were published in the Post in 1943. The pictures became greatly popular, and many other publications asked the Post for permission to reprint them. The federal government also took the original paintings on a national tour to sell war bonds. As Ben Hibbs, editor of the Post, noted in Rockwell’s autobiography, “They were viewed by 1,222,000 people in 16 leading cities and were instrumental in selling $132,992,539 worth of bonds.”

In 1973, Rockwell established a trust to preserve his artistic legacy by placing his works in the custodianship of the Old Corner House Stockbridge Historical Society, later to become Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge. The trust now forms the core of the Museum’s permanent collections. In 1976, in failing health, Rockwell became concerned about the future of his studio. He arranged to have his studio and its contents added to the trust. In 1977, Rockwell received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2008, Rockwell was named the official state artist of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, thanks to a dedicated effort from students in Berkshire County, where Rockwell lived for the last 25 years of his life.

He died on November 8, 1978.


“I’ll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I want to.”

– Norman Rockwell