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A few years back while I was completing my map collection, I came across a map of Northeast China from the September 1900 issue.  When it arrived, I was disappointed to find it had been converted into a scroll.  While the map is paper, it has been pasted to a cloth backing and the top has been anchored to a slat of wood while the bottom to a dowel for rolling up the map.  More disturbing is the fact that someone has written "N. E. China Physical Pol. 1900" on the rolled-up, cloth side of the scroll in magic marker and it has bled through to the map.

All that being said, after I acquired this item, I found and purchased an original copy of the September 1900 issue with map included.  This supplement, like the one posted by Phil, is a black-and-white sketch map:

Photo courtesy of Philip Riviere.

After that I put my scroll away and gave it no further thought until recently when I noticed that it was in color while my original was not.

My "scroll" is a colorized version of this same map:

The ocean and lakes are blue and the elevations are grades of brown.  Labels and boundaries are still in black.  It is obvious that this version was produced by the Society and not "doctored" later.  Note: the map DOES NOT have the bottom "Supplement to" line.

The questions I have about this map include:

Is this a 1964 reprint (or is that version also black-and-white)?

Does anyone else have a color version of this map?

If this is a reprint, when was it produced?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Yours in collecting,


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I have two originals (very thin and fragile paper) and one bound reprint (with no indication printed on the stiff map paper that it is a reprint) that are all black-and-white.

I looked through every cumulative index for "Map of North Eastern China." None indicated a colorized sample existed. In-fact, I believe it was the CI ending in 1969 where reference to the Sept 1900 supplement completely disappeared.

Then I remembered a little comment Nathan made in his MAPS section on page 31, 3rd to last paragraph:

"In the list that follows, one asterisk indicates that a supplement map, or...could be purchased from the Society;..."

Sure enough, the September 1900 "Map of Northeastern China" could be purchased (has an asterisk) - at least in 1982.

The old NGS shopping index (which the NGS stopped supporting in 2015) still has reference to this particular map supplement, but it will not open the picture.

The new shopping index does not find any reference to this supplement.

My best guess is that the colorized version you have is an NGS reprint sold to the public sometime as early as the late '60's up to perhaps the year 2015 (only because the old index still had it listed). At the very least, it was available when Nathan published his guide in 1982.

Sorry I wasn't more help - enjoyed the research...


P.S. Another indicator for NGS reprint sales is that, as Nathan notes, they were usually sold - rolled, not folded. If your map shows no crease marks from having been folded, it was most likely purchased rolled in the recent past (30 years or so), implying very strongly it was a reprint.

Thanks for all the research, Mel !

A few short notes regarding the scroll:  It does have creases, most glaringly in the center, top to bottom and across the middle.  What little I can examine of the paper's thickness, (around the corners and such), it does not appear to be a thicker stock than my original.

I know the Society sold maps before the '60s, both with and without indexes.  I just done know how early they started doing it.

Thanks again, this has been fun.


In the back of the 1922 Cumulative Index (the first CI) there is an advertisement page that includes maps made available for purchase by the Society.

The map of "North Eastern China" was not among any of them, colorized or otherwise.

These ad pages were part of my research above when I looked into each CI. As such, I confirmed the Society was selling individual maps separately (some were also monthly supplements and some were not) as early as 1922.

I believe, but have not confirmed this with research, that similar advertisements exists in the back of some (probably many) individual issues.

Beginning with the September 1900 through 1922 (when the first CI was published), you might want to do this research to see if you can find the "colorized" version being offered by the Society.

Remember two things: 1) the NGS did not have copyrights until 1907/8 and 2) this map was originally done by the War Department, not the NGS (who didn't develop a cartography division until sometime around 1911 - though this doesn't explain the "Supplement statement at the bottom of the map").

Good call on the older issues.  I had immediate success verifying that this map was sold (for 25 cents) by mail as early as the September 1900 issue.  The bottom half of the front inside cover there is this:

The exact same ad is repeated in the October through December issues of that year.  The format changed in 1901 and an ad is not to be found.  That's as far as I've gotten so far.  Still no mention of the map being rendered in color.

Ahhhh - but you're getting closer.

Good Luck!


Right below the black line, at the bottom of the map, on the right, can you see who the lithographer is or is it cut off on your scroll version?  Also, are all the type faces and fonts the same on both maps?  If they are then this most likely is an early reprint due to the colorization.  This may have been done after 1915 when NGS had their own cartographic division.  It is hard to tell from your picture, but it appears to me that he colors are close to the ones NGS used in the 1920-1930's.


Hi Jeff,

The bottom-right of the map reads:


Note: there is plenty of white space below this line, so it doesn't appear to be trimmed.

The type faces and fonts DO appear to be the same on both maps.  I thought that this color version had the "look and feel" of a '20s or '30s map as you noted, but I didn't mention it due to its speculative (and unscientific) nature.  I only wish I could take a better photo of it.




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