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Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History
                        1882 Pickering Map

      William H. Pickering. Map of the Mt. Washington 
      Range
.
Boston: Heliotype Printing Co., 1882.
        Scale: 1.25 inch = 1 mile.  70.5 x 36.3 cm.


                                  Author's Collection

William H. Pickering (1858-1938) was an astronomer and the younger brother of Edward C. Pickering, who founded the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in 1876, while a professor at MIT, and who was appointed the fourth director of the Harvard College Observatory later that year.  William Pickering was employed by his brother at the observatory, and like him, was active for many years in the AMC, serving variously as “Councillor for Improvements” and later president.  He issued this map in 1882 in two publications: in the June 1882 issue of Appalachia, the quarterly journal of the AMC, and in a handbook entitled Walking Guide to the Mt. Washington Range (Boston: A. Williams and Company, 1882). This handbook was the first guide written specifically for the hiker in the White Mountains, as distinct from the tourists, who might hire guides to lead them up the mountains. This map, correspondingly, may be considered the first hiking map of the White Mountains.

 

Note the contours, at the broad interval of 500 feet.  Pickering wrote that “the observations on which this map is founded have been gradually accumulating since the summer of 1876, and are of four kinds: those made with the telescope, barometer, camera [lucida as well as photographic], and eye.” He uses a specialized nomenclature for mountains that had been devised by the AMC in one of its first meetings, in April 1876. In this system (perhaps inspired by celestial cartography and stellar designations, which would have been familiar to several of the founders of the AMC) the entire state of New Hampshire was divided into 26 regions with letter designations, and then major peaks were identified alphabetically within numbered areas inside each region, with subsidiary designations for subsidiary peaks.  In this system, Mt. Washington is peak F6.1, being the highest peak in area 6 of New Hampshire region F. The horizontal scale is given in kilometers as well as miles. Early AMC publications sometimes used the metric system in addition to English measure, perhaps because so many founding members were scientists. The later AMC map of the Presidential Range, which has been continually issued since 1907, credited Pickering’s map as a source of information into its 1960 edition.

 

Like Walling’s map, Pickering’s map measures longitude from the prime meridian passing through Greenwich, England, even though this did not become the official international prime meridian until two years after this map was published.

 

Other states and editions

This map was issued simultaneously in two publications: in the June 1882 issue of Appalachia, the quarterly journal of the AMC, and in a handbook entitled Walking Guide to the Mt. Washington Range (Boston: A. Williams and Company, 1882)


Click here for a larger PDF version that will allow you to zoom in for detail. 

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