2014 VOLUME 35

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Reflecting on the Price-Strother Map of North Carolina: An Uncommon Exercise for an Uncommon Map

Jay Lester
Fig. 1: “…First Actual Survey of the State of North Carolina…,” Jonathan Price and John Strother (surveyors), W.H. Harrison (engraver), C.P. Harrison (printer), 1807, Philadelphia, PA. Ink on paper; HOA: 72 cm, WOA: 152 cm. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, Washington, DC, G3900 1808 .P7 Vault. Online: http://www.loc.gov/item/2011593508/ (accessed 27 May 2014.)

Over two centuries have passed since Jonathan Price and John Strother published their noteworthy map of North Carolina (Figure 1). The Price-Strother map is significant for a number of reasons, but foremost because it was the first map of the state of North Carolina that was drawn from an actual survey. Unfortunately, the map’s importance has largely been overlooked by scholars and historians since its creation. Indeed, a scant fourteen years after the map was published, Jonathan Price’s eulogist observed: “It is believed that neither the public utility and vast importance of the [map], nor the difficulty in executing it, have ever been reflected on by one in a thousand.”[1] Those words would prove to be prescient. In the ensuing two hundred years since the map was released, very few scholars have “reflected on” Price and Strother’s remarkable achievement that was more than fifteen years in the making. The first … Continued


Editor’s Welcome

Detail from a sideboard by William Buckland and carved by William Bernard Sears, 1761-1764, Richmond County, Virginia. Walnut with marble top; HOA: 34-3/16", WOA: 44-7/8", DOA: 28". Collection of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), Acc. 3425.

For those interested in material culture, the American South has been—and for some continues to be—terra incognita. The 1952 exhibit “Furniture of the Old South” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and its catalog, published in The Magazine ANTIQUES, is generally recognized as the beginning of serious scholarship in southern decorative arts. They are correct (mostly), but it is always a pleasant surprise to come upon a much earlier attempt to champion southern antiques against the bias of collectors above the Mason-Dixon line. This summer, I received an email from Sumpter Priddy, a friend and respected antiques dealer and scholar. Attached to Sumpter’s email was the foreword to a 1923 auction catalog that immediately captured my attention for its very early attempt to promote an appreciation of furniture made in the South—nearly thirty years before the 1952 exhibit. For sale was the Mrs. Caroline Coleman Duke collection being auctioned … Continued


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