Dear Francis Licameli
I have been contacted by a member of the Washington Map Society board who
was at the Geography and Map Division, LC the day you were shown the very
large American Revolutionary map in their collection. I believe you asked
about the background of the map. To that end, I was in charge of the NOAA
Map Library where the map had been housed for many decades. In 1956 RADM H.
Arnold Karo, then Director of the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey was invited
to attend a hydrographic conference in London. At that meeting he met RADM
Ritchie (then British Hydorgrapher). During Karo's visit Richie showed Karo
two very large maps that were identical depicting Long Island, Manhattan,
and the surrounding New York waters. The maps were believed to have been
produced by Joseph DesBarres (then cartographer to King George) while he was
working in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They were made for the two brothers,
commanding the British forces during the American Revolution: Lord Sir
Richard Howe, naval forces and Lord Sir William Howe, army forces. The two
maps were housed in the Cricklewood Library (now part of the Brent Archives
in London). Admiral Ritchie presented Admiral Karo with one of the maps.
It was placed in the NOAA (C&GS) Map Library. In the early 1970's I had the
map framed and displayed at our headquarters at the Washington Science
Center, Rockville, Maryland. After I retired in 1994, the map apparently
was given to the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Davison.
I hope this information can be of some value in your research.
Chief Historian, NOAA (emeritus)