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A Plan of the City of Philadelphia and Environs
Draftsman:Drawn by John Hills , American, active 1777 - 1817
Printmaker:Engraved by William Kneass , American, 1780 - 1840
Engraving; black printer's ink and watercolor on wove paper, lined with linen, in bound covers
Primary Dimensions (image height x width): 39 3/4 x 39 3/4in. (101 x 101cm) Sheet (height x width): 40 3/4 x 41 1/4in. (103.5 x 104.8cm) Mount (height x width): 40 3/4 x 41 1/4in. (103.5 x 104.8cm)
Credit Line: Connecticut Historical Society collection
Gallery Copy: Philadelphia served as the capital of the United States from 1790 to the end of 1800. Even after the capital moved to Washington, D.C., the city remained a major center of business and culture. Correspondence in the Connecticut Historical Society manuscript collection confirms that Connecticut citizens had contacts there. Connecticut vessels visited the city, and at least one Connecticut author sent a book to Philadelphia to be printed. John Hills's Plan of Philadephia is an impressive work of art that reflects the formal training he received in London before coming to America with the British army. The elaborate decorations include a charming depiction of winged putti with surveying instruments. Though such conceits were apparently common in Europe, they rarely appear on American maps.
Description: Map of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and 10 miles around it. The image area is circular, with concentric circles radiating out in one-mile increments. Counties and towns are labeled, and individual properties have been added by hand and include the owner's name and date of settlement. Schools, places of worship, "gentlemen's seats," taverns, bridges, and mills are marked with symbols. Physical features depicted include elevation, conveyed with hachure marks, the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, and other bodies of water. In the bottom left corner is a depiction of four putti with various surveying instruments and an allegorical figure, possibly representing geography, resting on a globe, holding a compass. In the bottom right corner is a depiction of four putti, one holding out a scroll to a figure wearing a war helmet, two using what appears to be a measuring device, and the fourth using what appears to be a compass. A Native American appears next to the helmeted figure and behind them is a ship bearing the Cowpens Flag (twelve stars arranged in a circle with one in the center). In the foreground are the Pennsylvania shield with a ship, a plow, and three sheaves of wheat, the New Jersey shield with three plows, and various farming tools and produce.
Cartographic Note: No scale
Inscription: Recto, top left, printed in black inK: "A / PLAN / of the CITY of / Philadelphia / AND ENVIRONS / Surveyed by / John Hills / In the Summers of 1801, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7" Top left, printed in black ink: "In the House of Representatives / of the United States / February 1st 1809. / Resolved, that the Speaker be directed to acknowledge the receipt of / the Directory of Survey of ten miles round the Centre Hydrant / in the City of Philadelphia, by Mr. John HIlls, / of the said City; and that, agreeably to the / Author's request, it be deposited in / the Library of Congress. / Extract from the Journal, / Patrick Magruder Clk." Top right, printed in black ink: "Washington Feb. 1st 1809 / Dear Sir / In Obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives / of the United States, I have the Honor to acknowledge the / receipt of the Directory or Survey of Ten Miles round the Centre / Hydrant of the CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, by / Mr. John HIlls of said City; & that aggreably to your / request, it has been deposited in the Library / of Congress: where it will remain an / Honorable Testimony of the Liberality / of the Donor. / I am sir, with high consideration, / your Obdt. Servt. / J.B. Varnum. / Mr. John Hills." Top right, printed in black ink: "Dedicated / with / Gratitude and Esteeem / To his numerous & Respectable / SUBSCRIBERS / By their Obliged Friend / John Hills" Top right, printed in black ink: "PUBLISHED / May 1st. 1808 / as the ACT directs / and sold by the / Author / and Principal Booksellers in / PHILADELPHIA / Wm. Kneass, Sculp." Handwritten inscriptions across the map with landowners' names and dates of settlement
Object Number: 2004.143.0
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