Description | Printing | Reference | Sebastian Münster | Subscription----

US MAP GIFT project
The first printed map devoted entirely to the New World.

Copyright by Dr Zsolt Török, Cartart FacTsimile Publisher, 2003
Dr. Török with woodblock and print

The map was published by Dr. Zsolt Török to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Columbian encounter.

Printing technology: relief printed from hand cut wood block with stereotypes

Woodblock of Munster America CF 1992 edition

TECHNICAL Specification:

Technique: relief printed from hand cut wood block with stereotypes
Sheet size: 520 x 640 mm,
Image size: 272 x 346 mm

Paper: special hand made, archival quality, deckle edged
Watermark: two OT- diagrams and  cartart label. Can not be removed.
Color: every map is individually colored by hand. 
Copies are individually  numbered and blind stamped. Special copies are decorated with solid gold.
Custom coloring or uncolored copies are available to request. 

Special gift on verso
the original Latin text to the map is relief printed between the two woodcut borders, which were attributed to Holbein.

Edition limited to five hundred copies. 

First issued inSebastian Münster's Ptolemy edition of 1540 in Basle (Switzerland), and included in his most famous Cosmography from 1544, it was the most popular representation of America. 

The map features the false sea of Verrazzano. Illustrated presumably Magellan's ship (although there is no resemblance to any vessel he sailed in), a cannibal hut (with dismembered human body parts. The Spanish and Portuguese flags mark the territories of the European powers. 

The Münster America Cartart FacTsimile map was published to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Columbian encounter in 1992.


Sebastian Münster (1488 - 1550), 

The 'German Strabo', is one of the most important and famous cosmographers of the 16th century. His Cosmographia, published from 1544, was perhaps the most popular illustrated geographical work of the century.
Münster was born in Niederingelheim, not far from the city of  Mainz, where in the 1460s Johannes Gutenberg had invented printing from movable metal types. The young Münster joined the Franciscan Order, and entered the monastery of  Rufach in 1509 to study under Konrad Pellikan, the important German humanist. Beyond theology, Pellikan was a teacher of Hebrew, Greek, mathematics and cosmography and Münster interested in these subjects. In 1511, when Pellikan moved to Pforzheim Münster followed him.
In 1514  Münster left for Tübingen, where he met the famous professor, Johannes Stöffler, an eminent scholar of mathematics and astronomy. It was  Stöffler, who introduced Münster into cosmography. From about 1515-1518  Münster's lecture note book (Kollegienbuch) has been preserved, which contains extracts from various publications with commentary, but also includes manuscript maps copied by Münster. 
From 1524 Münster moved to Heidelberg where he was appointed professor of Hebrew. His permanent cosmographical interest is reflected by his lectures at the university and his published map of Germany (Oppelheim,1525) , as well as his treatise on sundials (Erklerung des newen Instrument der Sunnen, 1528). 

The second part of the booklet explains chorographical map making techniques. To illustrate the surveying methods, Münster included an explanatory circular map of the environs of Heidelberg, to a radius of 6 German miles. In the end he suggested similar surveys to be undertaken by German scholars (Vermanung). Based on the regional maps of German lands he wanted to compile the new, more accurate and detailed map of the whole of Germany. At this point Münster apparently broke the Ptolemaic tradition of map making. 
However, he did not reject the Alexandrian scholar: in 1540 he published the famous Geography by Ptolemy in new translation.The influential book was printed by the Petri workshop in Basle. In 1529 he was offered a position at the university of  Basle  by the influential Swiss humanist, Johann Oecolampadius. He had previously lived and worked in this city for the local printer Heinrich Petri.  In 1530, Münster married Sebastian Petri'swidow, and he worked with his stepson running the printing workshop. 

The Geographia universalis, vetus et nova was one of the most reliable editions of Ptolemy. Münster used a Greek manuscript for his translation and corrected many misinterpretations of the earlier Latin texts. Along with the traditional 1+26 Ptolemaic maps the book included 21 modern maps. The new maps marked the development of regional cartography in Central Europe. All the maps were printed from wood blocks, made by the Basler artist Conrad Schnitt. The geographical names and map inscriptions were printed from stereotypes and/or from set metal types in the case of  titles outside the upper border, and the descriptive text found in panels on the verso side of the maps. It was Münster, who devoted a map for each continent in his book and this invention was followed later by Ortelius and the modern atlas publishers. The Geographia was a very successful product: two year after the first edition it was reprinted in 1542, than again in 1545 and 1552. 

The antique geography was a prelude to Münster's major work, the Cosmographia, published first in 1544. The Cosmographie was a geographical as well as historical and ethnographic description of the world. Münster included his own accounts as well as the material he could collect from other sources. Focussing on German lands, but with ever expanding scope and length, the work was frequently reprinted. Its success was at least partly due to the numerous woodcut (up to about five hundred) illustrations, maps  and views, which made it a most popular pictorial encyklopedy of the 16th century. 
In the May of 1550 Münster died of plague in Basle and was buried in the there, but his works remained influential in the period of the next generation of  great modern map makers



The map is still available.
For more information, a free demonstrative sample of the product and/ or the  Order Form please, send a message with your name and mailing address to the Publisher.


Special copies of Münster America maps have been presented to:

Carla Hills, US Trade Representative, WashingtonPresentation to Carla Hills, US Trade Representative,

in Washington, D.C.

Letter of George Bush, US PresidentLetter from Mr. George Bush, President of the United States of America (1993)
Letter of Juan Carlos, King of SpainHis Majesty Juan Carlos, King of Spain (1992) 

The 1992 edition Münster America map was donated to several major map collections and libraries worldwide, special copies are in the collection of: 
  • Széchényi National Library, Budapest
  • Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C. 
  • Library of Congress,
  • American Geographical Society,
  • Harvard Map Collection,
  • UCLA Bruman Library, 
  • Yale University Library,
  • Newberry Library,
  • Thuderbird Graduate School and much more...

US MAP GIFT Project:

September, 2003 - Gift copy (8) has just been presented to the Library of University of Texas, Arlington!

No answer, no photo has been received...

US Map Gift - Report 
The first Münster America quincentennial edition map gift was sent to

(1)the American Geographical Society's Collection in Milwaukee, WI, where the creator was one time Research Fellow. 

American Geographical Society's Collection, 
September 11, 2002

(2)It is a great honor the the Map Division of Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., the largest map collection of the world, would include a gift copy among its 4.8 million holdings. It is a special recognition that the map will be displayed there!

(3 another gift would decorate The Newberry Library in Chicago,ILL. (Remark: copy lost on its way, another copy had been  sen and arrivedt.). 

(4)Harvard Map Collection, Cambridge, Mass.

(5) Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education in Portland, Maine  were also presented by a Münster America map. Upon cataloging the items will be held in these finest collections of early maps. I have seen my gift map framed and dispalyed in the reading room!

(6) The New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, N.J. received a gift as contribution to thememorial exhibition 'Changed Lives', opening on September 11, 2002


(7) One copy was donated to the Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, which will be on display with the library's original Bill of Rights on the Day of Remembrance.

in September 2002
Bill of Rights on Rare Public Display At Library of Virginia For Day of Remembrance
From press release of the Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia, September 11, 2002
(Richmond, VA) -- On September 11, 2002, the Library of Virginia will join museums across the nation in a Day of Remembrance of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
and the American Association of Museums (AAM) are supporting American museums as they Celebrate Americas Freedoms in a Day of Remembrance on September 11. The Library will display Virginia's 1789 manuscript copy of the proposed United States Bill of Rights, with its original 12 amendments.
On display will be a copy of the Münster America 1540-1992 map, Novae Insulae, XVII Nova Tabula, the first printed map devoted entirely to the New World and which appeared in Sebastian Minster's 1540 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography. Dr. Zsolt Török, a Hungarian cartographer, published the map to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Columbian Encounter. 
Dr. Török donated this copy printed from a hand cut wood block on handmade paper to the Library of Virginia in sympathy for the events of September 11. Copies of the map also have been donated to a select group of institutions including the Newberry Library in Chicago, Harvard Map Collection, American Geographical Society's Collection and the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.

Please see our Web site or call 804/692-3592 for more information.

(8) University of Texas, Arlington! 


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