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A rare 1694 view of Boston Harbor

Above: Boston Harbor 1694. copyright 2017 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (

A treasure of the New England Historic Genealogical Society's map collection is found in the copy of Captain Cyprian Southack's "draught of Boston Harbor," made by draftsman Augustine Fitzhugh in 1694. This rare map depicts Boston Harbor and environs as it appeared at the end of the seventeenth century. Here one can easily spot Boston, Braintree ("Brantri"), Charlestown, Dorchester, Marblehead, and Nahant, as well as many less well known place names, especially among the harbor islands.

The map features a compass rose rendered in shades of blue, gold, and red, and an ornate cartouche with the names of Southack and Fitzhugh. Cyprian Southack (1662-1745), was an English cartographer and naval officer in Boston who commanded numerous vessels and is buried at the Granary Burying Ground.

This beautiful illustration was copied by J.A. Burt in 1884 for genealogist Henry Fitzgilbert Waters (who conducted English"gleanings" research for the New England Historic Genealogical Society) from an original at the British Museum in London. Another copy, also apparently drawn by Burt in 1884, is in the collections of the Boston Public Library.

The 1694 Southack map of Boston Harbor has recently been printed in a limited, hand-numbered edition for sale by NEHGS:

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