John Farmer's Map of the state of Michigan and the surrounding country, exhibiting the sections and the latest surveys. Published 1844 until 1874.
John Farmer (1798-1859) was a surveyor and map maker based in Detroit, Michigan. His “Map of the State of Michigan and Surrounding Country” was one of his most popular maps, which, over several editions, remained in print for thirty years. First published in 1844, this majestic map covered not just the surveyed, southern portion of the state, but the entire lower peninsula along with major portions of the upper peninsula as well. It contained carefully drawn section lines and portrayed great detail down to a scale of 12 miles to an inch (See Figure 1).
The experts disagree on how many editions or versions of this map appeared over this period from 1844 to 1874. Louis Karpinski, in his definitive 1931 book Bibliography of the Printed Maps of Michigan claims there were 16. Ristow, however, states in his 1985 American Maps and Mapmakers, that there were 23.
In an attempt to answer the question of the number of versions as well as the extent of their differences, we personally examined and copied portions of as many versions of the map that could be located using Karpinski, the World Catalogue (OCLC), and other sources. The results of this search are summarized in the table below.
We were able to locate and copy only 14 of the 16 versions listed in Karpinski. One of the two missing versions was 1845. Karpinski indicated it was listed in the University of Chicago library catalog, but mentioned that “the copy could not be located at the library.” The other missing version was 1866. Karpinski, however, failed to list five other versions that we have been able to locate from our examination of other sources: 1846. 1850, 1853, 1867, and 1869. If we add these five to Karpinsky’s total, then no fewer than 19 and perhaps as many as 21 versions exist of this map. But that total is less than the 23 claimed by Ristow.
The probable explanation for the Ristow number of edition lies with the changes between 1851 and 1852. The 1851 publication was labeled '3rd Edition' (as were the 1849 and 1850 printings). In 1852, and in all subsequent years, the edition title listed was '23rd Edition'. As Karpinski states, “it was effected by simply placing a 2 before the 3rd; it has no significance as to actual editions and was retained in all subsequent issues.” Ristow’s number probably reflects an innocent misreading of this quirk in Farmer’s edition listing.
To ascertain the changes in this map over the entire 1844 to 1874 period, we scrutinized the 19 versions that were able to locate, paying particular attention to the cartouche, the copyright statements, and content in the Grand Traverse & Leelanau areas. The key finding from our review is that the changes depended importantly on which Farmer was running the business. From 1844 until John Farmer’s death in 1859, numerous geographic changes were reflected in every new version of this map. After his death, however, when his son Silas took over the business, this practice stopped. In the nine subsequent versions of the map from 1864 until 1874, the contents of the map changed only twice, in 1864 and 1873. (See Table 1, column 5, for examples of version to version map changes in one area of Michigan, Leelanau/Traverse City). Keeping the map versions up –to-date was evidently less important for John Farmer’s heirs.
|Year||Stated Edition||Date in Cartouche||Cartouche (click to expand)||
|Comments||Karpinski Holdings, circa 1931||Current Known Holdings|
|1844||yes||This map has no insets. Manitou Islands not separately named.||Burton, Port Huron Public Library**, Library of Congress, University of Michigan||Archives of Michigan*, British Library, Clarke/CMU*, Library of Michigan, Marquette County Historical Society, Indiana Historical Society, Harvard University, New York Public Library|
|1845||University of Chicago, but not verified||Not found|
Inset of 12 townships in Iosco area with caption: "PLAT of the RESURVEY of certain townships FALSELY RETURNED BY L. L. ROSSEAU" (This edition only). Inset: PLAT of the COPPER DISTRICT on L. Superior (and thereafter unless noted).
Manitou Islands named (Great and Little).
|1849||3rd. Edition||yes||Manitou Islands additional details (boardinghouse).||Port Huron Public Library**||Clarke/CMU*, Wisconsin Historical Society|
|1850||3rd. Edition||yes||Details removed from Old Mission Peninsula.||not listed||University of Michigan-Bentley|
|1851||3rd. Edition||yes||Bear Lake added.||none indicated||Wisconsin Historical Society*|
|1852||23rd. Edition||yes||Carp Lake (name change) added.||Michigan Historical Commission||Archives of Michigan*|
|1853||23rd. Edition||yes||Traverse City (and county) added.||Not listed||Stanford (Rumsey)*|
|1854||23rd. Edition||yes||No changes in the Leelanau area. There are, however, changes just south of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.||Library of Congress, Port Huron Public Library**, University of Michigan||Clarke/CMU; Library of Michigan; University of Michigan-Hatcher*; University of Texas-Arlington|
|1855||23rd. Edition||yes||Northport added.||British Museum||British Library*, Michigan State University*|
|1856||23rd. Edition||yes||Pine Ridge area added.||American Antiquarian Society||American Antiquarian Society*|
|1857||23rd. Edition||yes||Glen Arbor added.||Burton; Port Huron Public Library**||Clarke/CMU*, University of Michigan-Hatcher|
|1859||23rd. Edition||yes||North Unity added.||Library of Congress, Port Huron Public Library**||Clarke/CMU*|
|John Farmer died March 1859. Map business taken over by his wife Roxanne Farmer and three children: Silas, John and Esther|
British Library copy is overdrawn in color with geological features, and has a hand-drawn legend appended to the lower right corner.
Benzie County added.
|No holdings noted||University of Michigan-Bentley; American Geographical Society Library at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee*, Maclean Collection*, British Library (geological)*|
|1866||23rd. Edition||no||No changes in the Leelanau area||Library of Congress, University of Michigan||Stanford (Rumsey)*|
|1867||23rd. Edition||yes||No changes in the Leelanau area||Not listed||American Geographical Society Library at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee*, Indiana Historical Society, University of Michigan-Hatcher*; University of Texas-Arlington*|
|1868||23rd. Edition||yes||No changes in the Leelanau area||Library of Congress, Port Huron Public Library**, University of Michigan||Clarke/CMU (2 copies)*|
|1869||23rd. Edition||yes||No changes in the Leelanau area||Not listed||University of Michigan-Clements (right half of map only)|
|1871||23rd. Edition||yes||No changes in the Leelanau area||Not listed||Clarke/CMU*; University of Michigan-Bentley|
|1873a||yes||Glen Haven added||Not listed||Clarke/CMU (3 copies)*; University of Chicago|
No insets; Copyright 1873 by Silas Farmer
Glen Haven added
|Port Huron Public Library**||Clarke/CMU*, Michigan State University*, University of Michigan-Bentley|
Date in cartouche and the 1873 Silas Farmer copyright statement
Glen Haven added
No insets; Copyright 1873 by Silas Farmer
No changes in the Leelanau area
|Library of Congress, University of Michigan||Library of Michigan-Hatcher*, Wisconsin Historical Society|
*This map was viewed as part of this project
** Port Huron Public Library loaned their map collection to the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.