Looking at the history of Cape Cod and the Islands through a cartographic lens
On Chatham’s Main Street, past the bustling strips of gift shops and restaurants, there lies a treasure trove of history. With an unassuming buttercup yellow exterior, the Maps of Antiquity shop seems to creak under the weight of thousands of maps. Some maps are yellowed and cracked with age, some carefully restored and framed. Some hang on every wall of the two-room shop, while the majority—organized by locale and vintage—sit in dozens of print racks, begging to be flipped through.
The building once housed a thriving antique business run by Danielle Jeanloz and her husband, Bob Zaremba. But after purchasing the collection from the former Maps of Antiquity in West Barnstable, acquiring another 6,000 to 8,000 vintage maps from Amherst Antiquarian Maps, and adding numerous smaller purchases, Zaremba and Jeanloz have become experts in antique maps with the catalog to match.
New England maps comprise at least half of the couple’s 15,000-plus collection of originals and reproductions, and 10 to 15 percent are specific to the Cape and Islands. Each map in the shop is both a work of art and a historic record, from cartography of Cape Cod and the Islands dating back as far as the 1700s, to maps of places as distant as mainland China with vintages as early as the 16th century. Aficionados and history buffs be warned: you may find it difficult not to spend endless hours perusing the collection. “Maps are very connecting,” shares Jeanloz. “People start talking about what the map means to them, whether it’s family or history or an experience, and before we know it, we create a relationship with people that we don’t know well.”
On the following pages, Zaremba and Jeanloz discuss the historic context and significance of four different maps of the Cape and Islands spanning the mid-18th to early 20th centuries. Produced by well-known cartographers, these maps transport the viewer to years past and provide a perfectly preserved glimpse into the history of the Cape and Islands.
- Posted in History