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Collection Panoramic Maps

Panoramic Artists and Publishers

The Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division holds panoramic maps done by Albert Ruger, Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler, Lucien R. Burleigh, Henry Wellge, and Oakley H. Bailey who were among the most prolific and successful panoramic map artists. Such well known print makers as Currier & Ives also made panoramic maps. Although this was not a leading panoramic mapmaking firm, this company's distinctive views were primarily of large cities. Most post-Civil War panoramic maps were of parochial interest, highlighting small cities and towns, and were more detailed than the average Currier & Ives' city perspective.

Albert Ruger (1829-1899)

Albert Ruger (1829-1899)

Albert Ruger was the first to achieve success as a panoramic artist. The collections of the Library's Geography and Map Division contain 213 city maps drawn or published by Ruger or by Ruger & Stoner. The majority came from Ruger's personal collection, which the Library purchased in 1941 from John Ramsey of Canton, Ohio. Before this accession, there were only four Ruger city plans in the Geography and Map Division. Born in Prussia in 1829, Ruger emigrated to the United States and worked initially as a mason. While serving with the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War, he drew views of Union campsites, among them Camp Chase in Ohio and Stephenson's Depot in Virginia. He continued to draw after the war, and his prints include a famous lithograph of Lincoln's funeral car passing the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio.1

By 1866, Ruger had settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he began his prolific panoramic mapping career by sketching Michigan cities. Full descriptions of many Ruger views of Michigan cities are contained in John Cumming's A Preliminary Checklist of 19th Century Lithographs of Michigan Cities and Towns. Urban communities in some twenty-two states and Canada, ranging from New Hampshire to Minnesota and south to Georgia and Alabama, were sketched by Ruger. He continued his activity into the 1890s, moving his business to Chicago, Madison, and St. Louis as he sought new markets. In the late 1860s, Ruger formed a partnership with J. J. Stoner of Madison, Wisconsin, and together they published numerous city panoramas. Ruger was particularly productive during the 1860s; in 1869 alone, he produced more than sixty panoramic maps. In addition to city plans, he drew views of university campuses, among them Notre Dame, Shurtleff College, and the University of Michigan. Albert Ruger died in Akron, Ohio, on November 12, 1899.

Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler (1842-1922)

Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler (1842-1922)

The name which appears on the greatest number of panoramic maps in the collections of the Library of Congress is that of Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler. He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1842, and ran away from home at the age of fifteen. When the first call for military volunteers for the Civil War was issued by President Lincoln, Fowler was in Buffalo, New York. Although initially rejected because he was underage, after some maneuvering Fowler was sworn into the 21st Regiment of the New York Volunteers at Elmira, New York, in May 1861. He received an ankle wound at the Second Battle of Bull Run and was honorably discharged at Boston in February 1863, leaving the hospital on crutches after refusing amputation. He then visited army camps where he made tintypes of soldiers. In 1864, Fowler migrated to Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked with his uncle J. M. Fowler, a photographer. He established his own panoramic map firm and in 1870 produced a view of Omro, Wisconsin. This was followed the next year by panoramas of Peshtigo, Sheboygan Falls, and Waupaca, Wisconsin.2 The Boston Public Library has six views drawn and published by Fowler in the 1870s. During that decade, he was employed as an artist by J. J. Stoner. Fowler moved from Madison around 1880 to northern New Jersey, first to the Oranges and later to Asbury Park. A panoramic map of Stewart, Ohio, which appears in D. J. Lake's Atlas of Athens Co., Ohio, is the earliest Fowler view in the Library of Congress's collections.3 Between 1881 and 1885, Fowler was located successively in Lewisburg and Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and in Trenton, New Jersey. On April 1, 1885, he moved with his family to Morrisville, Pennsylvania, where he maintained his headquarters for twenty-five years. One of the inconveniences of his profession was the recurring need to find new territory for his artistry. In a 1913 request for an increase in his military pension, Fowler noted that "although claiming home where my family was located--I was on the road as Publisher and Canvasser ever since the war.''4

Morrisville served as a convenient operating center as Fowler began to draw and publish views of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio cities. His production of Pennsylvania panoramas was greater than that of any other artist for a particular state. In the Library of Congress's collections, there are 220 separate Fowler views of Pennsylvania, representing 199 different towns. There are, moreover, an additional 165 Fowler views of Pennsylvania towns in the Pennsylvania State Archives and at Pennsylvania State University. This is an outstanding production record.

At various periods during his career, Fowler was associated with other panoramic artists. The association with James B. Moyer, of Myerstown Pennsylvania, from 1889 to 1902 was particularly extensive and productive. Some city maps were also published under the imprints Fowler & Kelly, Fowler & Albert E. Downs, and Fowler & Browning. After 1910, Fowler prepared panoramic maps of cities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York for Oakley H. Bailey, who marketed his prints as "aero views".5

Throughout his career, which extended over fifty-four years, Thaddeus Fowler never ceased to find pleasure in drawing and publishing panoramic maps. In a letter to his granddaughter written in 1920, he said that he felt "an unadulterated joy"6 while sketching a view of Middletown, New York This was the expression of a man who at that time had been working at his profession fifty years! In the same letter, Fowler alluded to some of the problems viewmakers encountered. He was in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1918, he recalled, preparing an aero view of the city, probably in association with Oakley H. Bailey. Airplanes and a dirigible circling the city were included in the trademark of the aero view to give the impression that some of the information was derived from aerial reconnaissance, which, of course, was not true. Some Allentown citizens noticed the view with the planes on the manuscript map. In the excitement engendered by World War I, Fowler was accused of being a German spy and was jailed. Members of his immediate family drove from Morrisville to identify their father, who suffered injury only to his pride in the incident. In the 1920 letter previously cited, Fowler also noted that Oakley H. Bailey had taken up my job at Allentown where I left off. The Sec'y of the Chamber of Commerce was very much taken with the drawing as far as I had it done and promised to help. Mayor Gross was very gracious and also favored the idea very much. Quite a different reception Bailey had to mine. There's no doubt we will do well there.7

The Allentown panorama, the largest extant Fowler view, apparently was never published. The original drawing was presented to the Library in 1970 by his daughter-in-law, Mrs. T. B. (Roxana) Fowler. The magnificent pen-and-ink manuscript with grey wash, which measures 28 by 71 inches, engaged Thaddeus Fowler and Oakley H. Bailey for over four years. A feeling of the city's vitality was expressed by drawings of operating industrial plants, trains in motion, city thoroughfares filled with automobiles and pedestrians, and a group of fans watching a baseball game. The Allentown map was one of the last to which Fowler contributed. He died in March 1922 in his eightieth year, following a fall on icy streets incurred while preparing a panorama of Middletown, New York. Fowler's career spanned the entire period of panoramic map production, and only Oakley H. Bailey shares this distinction.

The views of Thaddeus Fowler include cities and towns in at least twenty-one states and Canada.8 To date, 411 separate Fowler panoramas have been identified. Of the 324 in the Library of Congress, the majority were acquired on copyright deposit. In 1943, 60 Fowler views of Pennsylvania and West Virginia were purchased from the Laurel Book Service, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, among which are 11 of the Library's 28 Fowler views of West Virginia. In 1970 and 1971, the artist's daughter-in-law Mrs. T. B. (Roxana) Fowler and her family presented to the Library a collection of over 100 of his maps, 46 of them not previously in the Library's collections. This group has been kept together by the Library as the Fowler Map Collection.

An analysis of Fowler views of Pennsylvania towns suggests that the panoramic artist concentrated on a specific geographical area in a given year, very likely to minimize transportation problems.9 From 1889 to 1894, for example, he sketched cities in eastern Pennsylvania. In 1889, he focused on Schuykill County; from 1890 to 1892, he focused on the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area; and in 1893, he mapped the area north of Philadelphia. He made views of cities between Morrisville and Chambersburg in 1894, and from 1895 to 1897, he worked in the western part of the state, especially around Pittsburgh and in the northwest sector of Pennsylvania. In 1898 and 1899, Fowler sketched West Virginia towns, and from 1900 to 1903, he was back in western Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he made trips to Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia to draw city plans and to investigate the possibility of expanding his trade into the South, which proved unsuccessful.

Fowler gained commissions for city plans by interesting citizens and civic groups in the idea of a panoramic map of their community. After one town had agreed to having a map made, he would seek to involve neighboring communities. By noting that he had already secured an agreement for a view from one town in the area, he would play on the pride, community spirit, and sense of competition of adjacent communities. By such promotional procedures, he garnered commitments for panoramic maps from a limited geographical area, thus reducing travel expenses. Similar methods were employed by Ruger, Stoner, and Burleigh.

Oakley H. Bailey (1843-1947)

Oakley H. Bailey, another outstanding panoramic map artist and publisher and a close friend of Thaddeus Fowler, was born of Quaker parents June 14, 1843, in Mahoning County, Ohio. He enrolled in Mount Union College, Alliance, Ohio, in 1862. His studies were disrupted temporarily in 1864, while he served with the 143d Ohio Volunteer Militia, Company F, but he returned to school after his service obligation and graduated from Mount Union in 1866. He taught briefly in the area school system, but in 1866 he left Ohio and entered business with his brother H. H. Bailey and edited a business directory of Ohio. His territory reached as far as Chicago, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis. In 1871, he turned to the profession of making panoramic maps. Bailey's career began in Madison, Wisconsin, but by 1874, he had moved to Boston. From headquarters there and in New York City, Bailey published panoramic maps of American cities until the late 1920s, first under the name "bird's-eye views" and later as "aero views".10 His brother H. H. Bailey, who also drew views, was Oakley's partner for many years.

There are 127 Bailey items in the Library of Congress, and the Boston Public Library has 242 views drawn or published by Bailey between 1874 and 1891. A Bailey drawing of Atlantic City, measuring over seven feet in length, shows five or six miles of the famous boardwalk, myriad hotels, other buildings, and the ocean front. His maps were issued under the imprints of Oakley H. Bailey, Oakley H. Bailey & Co., O. H. Bailey & J. C. Hazen, Bailey & Fowler, Bailey & Hughes, Bailey & Moyer, Fowler & Bailey, and Hughes & Bailey. In the 1920s, the firm of Hughes & Cinquin produced panoramic maps under the sponsorship of Oakley H. Bailey, who had retired in 1927. Perhaps by that time Bailey's eyesight had become too weak to permit him to continue the tedious, close work required of a panoramic artist. He died on August 13, 1947, in Alliance, Ohio, at the age of 104.

When asked in 1932 why he had gone into the panoramic map business instead of farming, Bailey replied that at an early age he had realized that pastoral pursuits were filled with too many uncertainties. He chose instead the career of panoramic map publishing and remained active in it for fifty-five years, drawing and publishing maps of cities in some twenty northern states and Canada.11 In a 1932 interview, he further noted: The business has been practically without competition as so few could give it the patience, care and skill essential to success. But now the airplane cameras are covering the territory and can put more towns on paper in a day than was possible in months by hand work formerly.12

Lucien R. Burleigh (1853-1923)

Equally as prolific as Bailey in publishing maps of northeastern U.S. cities was Lucien R. Burleigh of Troy, New York. During the 1880s, Burleigh's views of New York and New England were particularly popular. The Library of Congress has 163 Burleigh panoramic city plans. State and local archives in New York may contain even more of Burleigh's views. An 1883 Troy city directory listed Burleigh as a civil engineer. By 1886, he had become a lithographer and view publisher, publishing under the name Burleigh Lithographing Company. An advertisement in the 1886 city directory stated that the firm did fine work in all branches of engraving and printing, with "views of buildings and villages a specialty."13 Burleigh published panoramic maps as late as 1892, but his most productive years were from 1885 to 1890. Views were published under his personal name and under the imprint Burleigh Lithographing Company or Burleigh Lithographing Establishment.

Henry Wellge (1850-1917)

Henry Wellge, like Albert Ruger, was a midwestern panoramic map artist and publisher. He worked initially for J. J. Stoner, but in the 1880s, he established his own company. His views of towns in twenty-four states were issued under several imprints--Henry Wellge & Co., Norris, Wellge & Co., and the American Publishing Co.

Other Panoramic Artists

Among other noteworthy panoramic map artists were Herman Brosius, Rene Cinquin, Albert E. Downs, Eli S. Glover, Augustus Koch, George E. Norris, and George H. Walker. The latter was also a successful publisher of atlases and maps.

Publishers of Panoramic Maps

The urban areas in the midwestern and eastern United States were of primary interest to panoramic map artists. Several of the artists began their careers in the midwest, particularly in Madison, Wisconsin. During the 1860s and 1870s, a large number of panoramic maps of midwestern cities and towns appeared. By the late 1870s, the Madison group had dispersed. Ruger and Stoner remained in that city, but Bailey and Fowler moved eastward to virgin territory. The latter two and Lucien Burleigh made the Middle Atlantic and New England states the chief production center for bird's-eye views during the 1880s and 1890s. It was in these areas, moreover, that the panoramic map business had its final flurry of activity in the 1920s.

During the 1860s and 1870s, the major publishers and lithographers of panoramic maps were concentrated in the Chicago-Milwaukee area because of the proximity to the artists' center of Madison. Beck & Pauli Lithographers (Milwaukee), Joseph J. Stoner (Madison), and Merchants Lithographers and Chicago Lithographers (Chicago) were responsible for a large percentage of the panoramas. Adam Beck and Clemens J. Pauli operated one of the most active lithographic firms in this area, producing views drawn in thirty states and Canada. Beck and Pauli printed views from 1878 to 1889, being most active during the mid-1880s. Clemens J. Pauli tried his own hand at drawing and printing views in 1889.

Another active producer was Charles Shober, whose panoramas appeared under several imprints, including Charles Shober & Co., Shober & Carqueville Lithographing Co., and the Chicago Lithographing Co. Joseph J. Stoner was the Madison publisher most identified with the Milwaukee-Chicago area panoramic map business. Every major view artist except Lucien R. Burleigh had works published at one time or another by Stoner. By the 1880s, publishers and lithographers on the east coast of the United States rivaled the midwestern companies.

In the Far West 14 and the South, panoramic maps never attained the popularity they achieved in the area north of the Mason-Dixon line, between Maine and Minnesota. Attempts to extend the industry to the South and the West were not particularly successful, although panoramic maps of a few cities in Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Colorado were produced. Views of communities in the state of Washington were drawn by Eli S. Glover and Henry Wellge in a span of one or two years in the 1870s or 1880s. Wellge's views of the state, for example, were all drawn in 1884. The South was economically unable to support views of their cities during Reconstruction, and northern canvassers probably would not have been welcome. More significantly, perhaps, the focal point of life in the South was the farm or plantation, not the village or town as in the midwestern and the northeastern states.

Similarly, the panoramic map business never gained in popularity Canada. The Library's collections contain only 36 panoramic maps of Canadian cities. The Public Archives of Canada has 112 unique panoramic maps of which 48 are original views.

John R. Hébert and Patrick E. Dempsey, Panoramic Maps of Cities in th e United States and Canada


  1. John Cumming, comp., A Preliminary Checklist of 19th Century Lithographs of Michigan Cities and Towns (Mount Pleasant, Michigan: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, c1969), p. iii. [Return to text]
  2. Five of the six Fowler views of Wisconsin (Oconomowoc 1870, Omro 1870, Peshtigo 1871, Sheboygan Falls 1871, and Waupaca 1871) are in the collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; the sixth Fowler view (Burlington 1871) is in the collections of the Burlington Historical Society, Burlington, Wisconsin. [Return to text]
  3. The 1870 Fowler view of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, included in the Library's list of panoramic maps predates the 1875 Ohio view. However, it is a positive photostatic reproduction of an original in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. [Return to text]
  4. From Thaddeus Fowler's military pension records, National Archives, Washington, D.C. [Return to text]
  5. Information on Fowler from his military pension record, National Archives, and from an unpublished account of his life by his son, Thaddeus B. Fowler. A copy of the son's recollections was given to the author by James Raymond Warren, Sr. From that same source we learned that Fowler married Elizabeth Anna Dann in 1875 in Madison, Wisconsin. Five children came of this union. [Return to text]
  6. Fowler to Ruth Fowler, April 11, 1920. Ruth Fowler later became Mrs. Clarence Sinclair, Morrisville, Pennsylvania. [Return to text]
  7. Ibid. [Return to text]
  8. To our knowledge, his Canadian views include Windsor, Nova Scotia, and Windsor, Ontario, in 1878; Kentville, Nova Scotia, in 1879; Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1880; Norwich, Simcoe, and Tilsonburg, Ontario, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1881. [Return to text]
  9. According to James R. Warren, an acknowledged expert on Fowler, at least fifty maps covering five states held in the collections of the Boston Public Library which are signed "O. H. Bailey & Co." are, in fact, maps drawn by Fowler in the early 1880s. Warren asserts that the maps were left unsigned because Fowler did not want his creditors to know his whereabouts and so had no fixed abode although he was moving from town to town in the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The maps contain many of Fowler's conventional artistic trademarks including the slanted lettering, the back slanted figures 1 and 7, and smoke emitting from steamships, railroads, and factories. Fowler would oftentimes include his own image in the views. [Return to text]
  10. "A 'Young' Old Timer," Sebring (Ohio) Times, 1932. [Return to text]
  11. Ibid. [Return to text]
  12. Ibid. [Return to text]
  13. Troy, New York, Directory. . . 1886. (Sampson, Murdock & Co.), p. 558. [Return to text]
  14. George Henry Goddard drew low oblique angle views of California towns in the 1850s. John W. Reps' Cities of the American West (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, c1979) cites over three dozen panoramic maps of California towns as well as many other towns in the Far West published between 1865 and 1900. [Return to text]