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Whale Chart | by Boston Public Library
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Whale Chart

File name: 09_03_000040


Call No.: G9096.D4 1851 .M3


Title: Whale Chart


Creator/Contributor: Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873)


Created/Published: U.S. Navy, National Observatory


Date created: 1851


Physical description: hand-colored lithograph


Summary: The mid-19th-century American whaling industry, which was dominated by southern New England ports, is documented by this innovative thematic map. It was created by Maury, a naval officer and oceanographer with the U.S. Navy, using data from various sources including logs from whaling ships. He portrayed the distribution of several species of whales, identifying each with a combination of color and pictorial symbols.


Centered on the Pacific Ocean, the primary hunting ground for whales, this map reflects the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center’s interest in collecting unique world maps that depict different world views or unusual thematic topics.


Note: Zoom into this map at


Location: Boston Public Library, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center


Rights: No known restrictions.


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Taken on October 9, 2009