David Perlman Map Collection

Dates: 1670-1901
Size: 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder, 26 maps
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: c00065
Provenance: The maps were donated to the Library in 2016 by David Perlman.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: David Perlman Map Collection, [Accession#], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library.
Processed by: Processed by Michelle McCoy, April 2017

Biographical Note

As a career Army Infantry Officer, David Perlman mastered map reading, which he used for making decisions and planning tactical movements. With an understanding that mapping requires detail and accuracy, he initially became fascinated with the early mapmakers whose reliance on the ‘best’ scientific advances of the time to depict main landmarks often included distortions, errors, fictitious sea creatures and fanciful lore. Over time, his map collecting grew into a passion with a focus on what interested him—the exploration and evolution of the Midwest and his home city of Chicago.

Scope and Content

The collection contains 21 maps and 5 illustrated views of the Chicago area. Together these materials punctuate a timeline from the 17th century to the turn of the 20th century. Nicolas Sanson’s 1670 depiction of all five Great Lakes is one of the earliest maps of the North American interior. By the next century, other European cartographers for the Great Lakes region recorded the Native American name of “Checagou” or “Chicagou” for the site now known as Chicago. By the 19th century, Chicago was more than a military outpost and a fort for the United States. Joshua Hathaway’s 1834 plat map, Chicago and the School Section, is notable for incorporating real estate blocks and the a recent addition of five parcels that doubled the city’s size just three years before it was officially incorporated. Within a few decades, views of notable Chicago buildings and transportation routes were rendered in steel and wood engravings for a 1872 publication called, Picturesque America, or the Land We Live In. Significantly, these illustrations depict Chicago scenes prior to the great fire of 1871.


The maps and prints are listed chronologically.

Subject Headings

  • British--America--Maps--Early works to 1800
  • Chicago (Ill.) -- Maps
  • Great Lakes (North America) -- Maps-- Early works to 1800
  • Illinois -- Maps
  • Maps -- Early works to 1800
  • North America -- Maps -- Early works to 1800

Authority Headings

  • Bellin, Jacques Nicolas, 1703-1772 Cary, John, approximately 1754-1835 Darby, William, 1775-1854 Hathaway, Joshua, 1810-1863
  • J.H. Colton & Co. Kitchin, Thomas, 1718-1784 Millar, George Henry
  • Mitchell, John Neele, Samuel John, 1758-1824 Robert de Vaugondy, Gilles, 1688-1766
  • Sanson, Nicolas, 1600-1667 Scott, Joseph (Geographer) Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain)
  • William Darton & Son Zatta, Antonio, active 1757-1797
  • Zatta, Antonio, active 1757-1797


2015.6 1670 circa Canada, ou Nouvelle France, &c.: Ce qui est le plus advance vers le Septentrion est tiré de diverses Relations des Anglois, Danois, &c. Vers le Midy les Costes de Virginie, Nouvlle Suede, Nouveau Pays Bas, et Nouvelle Angleterre Sont tirées de celles des Anglois, Hollandois, &c. La Grande Riviere de Canada ou de St. Laurens, et tous les environs sont suivant les Relations des Francois. Par Nicolas Sanson, Geographe ordinaire du Roy, Paris, Chez Pierre Mariette Rue S. Jacque a l’Esperance Avecq Privilege du Roy pour vingt Ans, hand colored, 22 x 30.5 cm   

Appeared in editions of Nicolas Sanson, Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde (Paris, 1658) and Nicolas Sanson, Cartes générales de la géographie ancienne et nouvelle, Paris, 1675

2017.7 1749 Les lacs du Canada et Nouvelle Angleterre, by Robert de Vaugondy, Paris, 18 x 24.5 cm Appeared in editions of Atlas portatif, universel. Compose d’apres les meilleures cartes, tant gravees que manuscrites des plus celebres geographes et ingenieurs. Par Robert de Vaugondy.
2017.8 1757 Carte des lacs du Canada, by Jacques Nicholas Bellin, [Paris], [Didot], hand colored, 21 x 30.5 cm Appeared in Charlevoix’s Histoire et description generale de la Nouvelle France, 1757
2017.9 1778 Il paese de’ selvaggi Outagamiani, Mascoutensi, Illinesi, e parte delle VI Nazioni, by Antonio Zatta, John Mitchell, and G.T. Raynel, [Venice], hand colored, 31 x 42 cm
2017.10 1780 circa A new map of the United States of Nth America, drawn from the latest authorities, by Thomas Kitchin, geographic hydrographer to his Majesty, London, hand colored, 35 x 39 cm   

Appeared in George Henry Millar's New complete & universal system of geography, [1782]

2017.11 1795 N.W. Territory by Joseph Scott, from The United States Gazetteer: Containing an authentic description of the several States, their situation, extent, boundaries, soil, produce, climate, population, trade and manufactures. Together with the extent, boundaries, and population of their respective counties, Philadelphia, F. & R. Bailey, 19 x 16 cm
2017.12 1797 United States of America, by Samuel John Neele, from Encyclopaedia Londinensis, London, John Wilkes, hand colored, 18.5 x 24 cm
2017.14 1806 circa A new map of part of the United States of North America, exhibiting the Western Territory, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, &c. Also, the Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario & Erie; with Upper and Lower Canada &c. from the latest authorities, London, John Cary, hand colored, 46 x 51.5 cm   

Appeared in Cary's new universal atlas, London, John Cary, 1808

2017.13 1811 United States, London, John Cary, 25 x 21 cm
2017.26 1819 Engraved for Darby’s Tour, frontispiece from A tour from the city of New-York, to Detroit, in the Michigan territory, made between the 2d of May and the 22d of September, 1818 ... The tour is accompanied with a map upon which the route will be designated; a particular map of the falls and river of Niagara, and the environs of the city of Detroit, by William Darby, engraved by William Hooker, New York, Kirk & Mercein, hand colored, 17 x 27 cm
2017.15 1829 North America, from the latest authorities, London, William Darton, hand colored, 24 x 28 cm   

Appeared in union atlas, North America, from the latest authorities, London, William Darton, 1814

2017.16 1833 North America sheet IX. Parts of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, Published under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, London, J. & C. Walker, hand colored, 30 x 36 cm
2017.17 1834 Chicago and the School Section, Wabansia, and Kinzie’s Addition, compiled from the four original surveys as filed in the Cook County Clerk’s Office by Joshua Hathaway, hand colored, 36 x 40 cm [top half of the map only]
2017.20 1839 circa Map of the Chicago River accompanying the annual report of Tho. Jefferson [Cram] Capt. U.S.T.E. Sep. 1839, Washington DC, William James Stone, 28 x 36 cm
2017.19 1839 circa A plan of Chicago Harbor accompanying the annual report of Tho. Jefferson [Cram], Capt. U.S.T.E. Sep. 1839, Washington DC, William James Stone, 27 x 35.5 cm
2017.18 1842 United States, from A comparative atlas of ancient and modern geography, for the use of schools. Compiled from original authorities and containing the latest Discoveries. London, Aaron Arrowsmith, 20 x 24.5 cm
2017.25 1845 Neueste Karte von Illinois mit seinen Strassen, Entfernung, der Hauptpunkte und routen fur Dampfschiffe. Nach den bessten Quellen verbessert, Hildburghausen ; Philadelphia : Bibliographischen Instituts, hand colored, 37.7 x 29.9 cm  

Appeared in Meyer’s Handatlas, Hildburghausen, 1848? Vol. 2, no. 70.

2017.21 1855 City of St. Louis. The City of Chicago, Illinois. New York, J.H. Colton & Co., 28 x 18 cm
2017.22 1858 Chicago Harbor and Bar, Illinois: From a survey of made between the 17th of August & the 2nd of September 1858, United States Army Corps of Engineers, by J.D. Graham, New York, Lith. Of J. Bien, 101 x 78 cm
2017.2 1871 July 22 Turning the waters of Lake Michigan into the Gulf of Mexico, art by Theodore R. David, New York, Harper’s Weekly, wood engraving, 21 x 28 cm [page trimmed]
2017.3 1872 Chicago vignettes of the Water Works and the Chicago River, from Picturesque America, or the land we live in, New York, D. Appleton and Company, steel and wood engravings, 23.5 x 30.5
2017.4 1872 Chicago vignettes of the Chicago River, from Picturesque America, or the land we live in, New York, D. Appleton and Company, steel and wood engravings, hand colored, 23.5 x 30.5
2017.5 1872 Chicago vignettes of the Chicago River, the Board of Trade, Michigan and Wabash Avenues, from Picturesque America, or the land we live in, New York, D. Appleton and Company, steel and wood engravings, hand colored, 23.5 x 30.5
2017.27 1880 circa General view of Chicago by Elisee Reclus, hand colored, 21 x 12 cm
2017.23 1892 Map of Chicago Harbor, Illinois: Showing condition of the U.S. Harbor Works at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30th 1892, United States Army Corps of Engineers, 21 x 32 cm
2017.24 1901 Map of the central portion of Chicago, Showing railroads, depots and street transportation lines, Chicago, Rand McNally & Co., 31 x 22 cm
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