Home » Product » A Picture Map of Cape Ann and the North Shore

A Picture Map of Cape Ann and the North Shore

  • Author: GOFF, Errol W (artist)
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston (publishers)
  • Date: 1934
  • Dimensions: sheet: 88.5 x 73.5 cms / envelope (front cover): 26 x 31 cms


A Picture Map of Cape Ann and the North Shore [1934]: Errol W Goff’s pictorial map of the northern coasts of Massachusetts

About this piece:

A Picture Map of Cape Ann and the North Shore

Colour-printed pictorial map. Traces of old folds. Tiny area of loss at lower right fold juncture, within inset map of Salem, expertly and invisibly filled and reinstated. The map now entirely backed and reinforced on verso with museum-quality archival tissue for better preservation. Presented with the pictorial front cover (only) of the map’s original presentation envelope (showing a detail of Cape Ann taken from the larger map) with old damages, tears & wear to cover edges, now professionally restored & conserved.  The map a fine, bright & generally very well-preserved example.

This decorative & uncommon pictorial map of the Massachusetts North Shore and Cape Ann was originally designed by local artist, Errol William Goff [1903-1974] and published in 1934 by Bostonian publishers, Houghton Mifflin Co.

A vibrantly colourful & entertaining visual spectacle, it encompasses the North Shore coastlines from Marblehead, Peabody & Salem in the south to Essex Bay, Ipswich & Little Neck in the north and includes the towns of Beverly, Manchester, Gloucester, and Rockport. Several insets depict the settlements of Newburyport, Ipswich, Salem, Gloucester & Rockport in closer detail. Within the map itself, vignette illustrations, cartoon figures, and detailed annotations reference the rich native American, colonial and maritime history of the area as well as highlighting local attractions and popular vacation spots.

An inscribed banner around the top and bottom edges of the map reads as follows:

This region was known as Wingaersheek to the Indians, called Cape Tragabigzanda by Capt John Smith, then Cape Ann by Prince Charles in honour of his mother Anne of Denmark.

The text to left and right lists the names of the principal settlements of the area, whilst an inner border contains 18 pictorial vignettes illustrating attractive local scenes & notable historic buildings with accompanying descriptions. The corners are filled with four fine portraits: an 1812 pipe-smoking seaman of the USS Constitution (top left); the 18th Century pirate Capt John Phillips (top right); the legendary Gloucester witch, Peg Wesson (lower left); and the modern-day hero of the Banks, the oilskin-clad fisherman (lower right). A lower panel entitled Essex County Massachsetts, offers a detailed Legend, further expounding 82 numbered points of interest within the map above.

Errol William Goff was born in May 1903 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the eldest son of William H Goff (b.1861) and his wife, Lilian (née Brown) (b.1865). The couple had been married in Boston in 1885. After a short period in Stafford CT, he spent most of his childhood in Everett, MA where his father worked as an electrician. In 1927 he enrolled at the Massachusetts School of Art studying Design. His student profile in the School magazine, Palette & Pen [1927] notes that “when it comes to unflagging persistence and unremitting labor, Errol has all the stars in his crown. And even a little judicious wise-cracking isn’t beneath his dignity….”. In November 1930 he patented an attractive clock design which was assigned to the Warren Telechron Company of Maine. A few months earlier, in the 1930 Federal Census, Goff had been recorded as still living at his parental home in Everett. Interestingly his profession was listed as Artist working for a Mapmaking Co.

It is not clear if by this point he was already working for Houghton Mifflin, whose map making ventures rapidly expanded during this period, following the great success of fellow artists, Edwin Olsen & Blake Clark, whose immensely popular series of pictorial maps of Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC the firm had first commissioned & published in 1926.

Further Houghton Mifflin maps followed, including a colour edition of Mélanie Elizabeth Leonard’s pictorial map of Cape Cod [1927], Charles Turzak & Henry T Chapman’s striking Illustrated Map of Chicago & Ernest Dudley Chase’s Mercator Map of the World, both published in 1931. Goff’s 1934 map completed the quartet and seemingly concluded Houghton Mifflin’s all-too-brief eight year dalliance with pictorial map making.

Little is known of Goff’s later life. He was married in Washington DC in January 1942 and would seem to have settled there with his wife Sophie until at least the mid 1950s. Official records note that he passed away in Hancock, New Hampshire in January 1974.

Refs: David Rumsey Collection