Mapping the New York Metropolis, 1624–1864

painting of colonial village on a river with sailing ships

Painting of Nieuw Amsterdam, 1656. photo / provided

The maps and urban views in this exhibition record the changing form and appearance of the nation's major metropolis over more than two centuries, as it grew from its founding in 1624 through the middle of the 19th century. The drawings and prints reproduced for the exhibition were prepared by explorers, promoters, settlers, soldiers, and scholars who drew and used these images for a variety of purposes.

Illustrations come mainly from holdings of the Library of Congress and the New York City Public Library. Both institutions provide high-resolution images for study, research, and publication, and this exhibition is intended to make their availability better known.

Some items on display have been edited to remove foxing and other stains, repair tear- and fold-lines, and eliminate or reduce the appearance of age discoloration. The aim is to present images much as they would have appeared when first drawn or printed.

This exhibition is curated by John Reps, professor emeritus of city and regional planning.