Making hay

Speaking of the needle in the haystack…

Maps are an important part of journalism.  They help us as writers lend a sense of three-dimensional space to our words and create a visual sense of place.

Journalism has also been called the first draft of history.

Therefore, a historical map must be of at least some significance to the communications community at large, yes?

In a story that is a worthy plot line for National Treasure III, a 1769 map completed by the famed cartographer Bernard Ratzer was discovered in a Brooklyn Historical Society warehouse in Connecticut last May.

Straight from the cinema of reality, and through a stranger-than-fiction series of events, the map has been fully restored using techniques and tools including:

• plastic tent and humidifier

• alkaline bath

• tweezers and a Zipcar rental

• early 19th c. books boiled on the stove

The final product is a beautifully restored map – only the fourth version known to exist – detailing pre-Revolutionary New York City.

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