[Vermont.] Ebeling/Sotzmann

Hamburg: Carl Ernst Bohn, 1796. 27 x 18 ¼.”Original wash hand color by county. Excellent impression. Free of foxing. A bit of wrinkling around the edges. Very good. Item #3719

Christoph Ebeling, a German professor of history and classical languages, produced “‘[o]ne of the most comprehensive, detailed and sympathetic geographic descriptions of America’ in the early years of the new republic” (Walter Ristow, “The Ebeling-Sotzmann Atlas von Nordamerika,” in The Map Collector, March, 1981). Ebeling engaged Berlin-based cartographer Daniel Sotzmann to prepare an 18-map atlas to complement his multi-volume geography of the United States, Erdbeschreibung und Geschichte von Amerika. The project foundered, however, and only ten state maps, including Vermont, were ultimately produced during the years 1796-99. Despite being compiled in Europe, the Ebeling/Sotzmann maps are generally considered among the best maps of the ten states available at the time.

Ebeling’s monumental cross-Atlantic undertaking was enabled by his extensive correspondence with many prominent American geographers and historians of the time. For instance, his letter to William Bentley in Salem, Massachusetts in April, 1796 notes that the base maps for the Vermont map were those of William Blodgett (1789) and James Whitelaw (1796).

All of the Ebeling-Sotzmann maps are extremely scarce; only a handful of institutions have a complete set of the ten maps that were published. Indeed, Ristow comments that the maps are “among the rarest of cartographic Americana for the closing decade of the eighteenth century.”

References: Cobb, Vermont Maps Prior to 1900: 124. Graffagnino, Shaping of Vermont: 17. David Rumsey Map Collection: List no. 2746.005. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers: pp. 169-178. Brown, “Early Maps of the United States: The Ebeling-Sotzmann Maps of the Northern Seaboard States” appearing in Geographical Review 30 (July, 1940).

[ICN 7663.2].