Friday, April 12, 2013

Plat, Plot, Survey, Chart

A hand-drawn map of Meriden.
Meriden, New Hampshire
Who doesn’t love a map? There is something about the ability to see objects laid out in relationship to each other; that broad overview of things we normally only see from our grounded vantage point necessitated by laws of gravity. Even in an age when you can view the world from satellite in photographic reality, old maps can still amaze. They give us insight into a previous world, roads that no longer exist, buildings that have moved. So it is with these hand-drawn maps by Dr. Elias Frost of Meriden, New Hampshire.

A hand-drawn map of Uxbridge.
Uxbridge, Massachusetts
Frost, who was born in Milford, Massachusetts and later moved to Uxbridge and then to Meriden, drew a series of maps, from memory, of each of the towns he lived in as part of his manuscript titled the Chronicle of the Frost Family. It is hard not to be drawn into these maps with their careful, folk-art renderings of the buildings accompanied by notes about changes, inhabitants or moments in his life related to a particular place. Relationships and scale can tell us other things about the creator. For instance, it is clear that the church in Meriden was a large and important part of Dr. Frost’s life since it dwarfs the structures around it.

To enjoy Dr. Frost’s maps in person, or read the chronicle of his family, ask for: Rauner Codex: 853310.

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