Archive re map culture in early 19c Portland

OML has acquired a small collection of private papers from the archives of Lemuel Moody (1767-1846), famous for his work in creating the Portland Observatory (1807-9). He also made and published, in 1825, a chart of Casco Bay and Portland harbor. This archive has much of interest about the history of the chart and of the navigation of Casco Bay (1825-1839). It also includes material about Moody’s sale of other charts and chronometers (1830-1841) and his scientific observations, such as his determination of the longitude of Munjoy Hill (1819-1835).

The archive has been both catalogued and imaged. To locate the images, search the collections (see View/Find Maps above) for items with the accession number OS-1819-9.

A descriptive finding aid is available.

The three main groups of material are as follows:

Charting Portland Harbor (1825-1839): Folders 1-19

These materials include information about the business of creating The Chart of Portland Harbour and Islands Adjacent, beginning in 1825, by Lemuel Moody, George Deering and Seward Porter (1784-1838). There are contracts, receipts, accountings, and some correspondence related to this chart. Moody was in the process of creating a Pilots Guide to Portland Harbor and his notes are included.

Scientific and natural phenomena (1819-1835): Folders 20-27 and the 1 OS map folder

Moody took scientific observations of celestial phenomena such as the comet of 1819 and he calculated the longitude of Munjoy Hill, Portland. He collected material related to the longitude of Portland from William Blackburn, and newspaper clippings about lighthouses and sea serpent sightings. Also included are one month’s worth of thermometrical records of Portland, February 1835.

Chronometer business (1830-1841): Folders 28 – 36

Moody began selling chronometers in the Portland area ca. 1830. Correspondence between suppliers of chronometers and invoices are included.

Two items do not relate to these categories: one is a bill for expenses incurred by Mrs. Nancy Webb, dated 1838, and the other is a Civil War souvenir envelope  dated 1875, probably used to organize some of these materials, but dated years after Moody’s death in 1846. These two ‘unrelated’ items are in Folder 37.