1930. Esso, Washington, DC

The 1932 Michigan map was my oldest for quite a while.  I seldom 
added any more really old maps during my early years of collecting.

A friend had also started the hobby.  His holdings were modest indeed compared to mine, which was good; and I surely enjoyed having someone to write to about map things.  At some point he began hinting in postcards or letters of a major old map find, but I didn't catch the clues.  Finally told me he had acquired a 1931 Imperial Oil map as part of excess being discarded at his high school library.  I was mortified.

Not too much later on -- or so it seems now -- he and I were traipsing through used bookstores in Lower Manhattan on a winter day.  Deep in the recesses of one of the bigger stores around -- a store that had no displayed road maps -- there was an old wooden desk.  Something, I like to think, something possessed me to open one drawer.

In that drawer deep in the musty recesses of the Strand Bookstore I found "gold" in the presence of a sole and clearly very old Standard map of Washington, DC.  I unfolded, trembling.  There was no price marked on it, and no year identified.  How long had it been there, and why?  And why -- I wondered for years -- why did I open that drawer?

The clerk took a while to look for a price, and then required some consultation to assess what to charge.  I was afraid that they would not let me have it, but it all worked out fine.  Fine and fantastic!

I wrote to mapmaker General Drafting at their headquarters in Convent Station, New Jersey, describing its covers and some cartographic features, asking if they could date it for me.  The company fairly quickly sent a very nice note back congratulating me on my rare find, and advising that it was most likely from 1930.

1930.  Supremacy again!  It was as wonderful. 


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