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A Map of Mary Rowlandson's Journey


This map is a reprint of the map of Mary's captivity journey first published in 1903 in a rare book by Henry Nourse, an avid historian and the Clerk of the Town of Lancaster, Mass. This book has become the "gold standard" for the typesetting of the text of Mary's narrative. Nourse received a grant from the Thayer family of Lancaster, who at that time were the richest people in New England. Using these funds, he had the earliest copy of Mary's original narrative photographed. From these photographs he had photoengraved plates made which were used to print 250 copies of what is essentially a 1903 photo copy of Mary's original narrative. This was a copy of the second edition which was and is part of the rare book collection at the Boston Public Library. The second edition was a slight improvement over the first edition, correcting a number of typographical errors. Unfortunately there are no remaining copies of the first edition still in existance. Recently a modern digitized copy was made of this same edition. However in the more than 100 years since Henry Nourse made his photocopy the original text appears to have been significantly degraded. In the new digital version there appear black blotches that obscure some of the print, other portions of the text are significantly faded and difficult to read. This is why Henry Nourse's 1903 printing is now the best, most readable version of Mary's original narrative and the one on which my book 'The Mary Rowlandson Story' is based..

This second edition version was typeset by the fascinating character and Native American, James the Printer. The incredible life of James the Printer is covered in my book 'The Mary Rowlandson Story". James was a "praying Indian" whose life became interwoven with Mary's and among other things he was instrumental in helping to bring about her final release from captivity. The story of the way he had to typeset her book is also an interesting commentary on how printing was done at the Cambridge Press in 1682, then the only printing press in the American colonies.

This 1903 map is reprinted with the permission of the Lancaster, Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Map of Mary Rowlandson's Captivity Journey
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