The Lawrence H. Slaughter Collection of
English maps, charts, atlases, globes and books relating to Colonial
North America came to the Map Division of The New York Public Library’s
Humanities and Social Sciences Library as a gift from the Slaughter
family in 1997 and 2002. The intent of the gift was to keep the
collection together, while making it accessible to the general public,
scholars and collectors. Mr. Slaughter had a long association with
the Map Division via his membership in the Mercator Society of The
New York Public Library. The Mercator Society is a donor group for
the Map Division, and funding from this group enables the division
to purchase and conserve antiquarian maps and atlases.
Some 600 maps, 100 atlases, and 50 books focusing on English Colonial
North America make up this unique collection. Over a twenty-year
period, Mr. Slaughter, with the assistance of E. Forbes Smiley III,
a New York map dealer, developed his collection specifically around
the history of English mapping of the Middle Atlantic colonies in
North America. In addition, there are numerous Dutch and French
maps complementing the English maps, as well as maps and charts
covering many areas outside the Middle Atlantic colonies.
Highlights of the Slaughter Collection include:
CITY MAPS OF NEW YORK: Mark Tiddeman’s Draught
of New York Harbor, ca. 1749; the “Ratzen” plan
of the City, first edition, first state; the Montresor plan of New
York; and John Thornton’s chart of Long Island, showing New
York City, 1689.
MAPS and ATLASES: Mitchell’s map of British
Dominions, 1755; George Willdey’s composite atlas, ca. 1717;
William Berry’s collection of 41 maps, 1680-1702; and two
magnificent 18-inch library globes, by John Senex, 1720, in wonderfully
spirited clawfoot cradles.
BOOKS: Christopher Colles’s Survey of
the Roads, 1789; John Speed’s A Prospect of the World,
1646 and 1668; John Seller’s Atlas Terrestris / Atlas
Minimus, 1685; Thornton’s The English Pilot,
the Fourth Book [America] 1689,1713, and 1732.
The Slaughter Collection complements and enhances map and atlas
collections in both the Map
Division and the Rare
Book Division of The New York Public Library. Established in
1898, the Map Division holds some 420,000 maps and 20,000 books
and atlases dating from the 16th century to the present.