On Monday, residents of Edenton who attended the annual Armchair Traveler series at the Shepard-Pruden Library traveled back in time to learn about a valuable piece of North Carolina history and its current location.
Larry Houston and Jennifer Daugherty, representing East Carolina University as curator and librarian respectively, provided attendees with updates on the historical context and restoration of a colonial map discovered at Edenton in the 1980s.
The Moseley Map, as it is called by those familiar with it, was first printed in 1733 and may be the first accurate map of the province of North Carolina. Edward Moseley, whose name is introduced as the creator, was a prominent figure in North Carolina politics from the early to mid-18th century.
Originally from England, Moseley traveled to the British colonies in North America around 1700 and found work in Charleston, SC
From there, he rose through the ranks of the government of North Carolina, becoming the first treasurer and ultimately the surveyor general. During his tenure as a surveyor, Moseley helped establish the line of demarcation that is now the border of North Carolina and Virginia and documented it via the Moseley map.
Moseley was a resident of Edenton and owned land in the area, which was passed on to his children after his death in 1749.
The Moseley Map, now a treasured relic of North Carolina history, has finally made its way to the attic of historic Wessington House on West King Street in Edenton.
Over the decades, the card has seen the typical wear and tear of being in an environment that is not conducive to its preservation. The Edenton edition was one of four known copies, two more in the UK and one at Yale University.
Donated by the family of Anne Graham Rowe, a resident of Edenton, to the Joyner Library at East Carolina University, the map has undergone significant restoration and conservation efforts in recent years.
While the first restoration efforts in the 1980s were made on the map, a redesign was recently done with guidance from Houston.
“Currently, we have a team of one and several graduate students,” Houston said. “But even though we have a lot of hands between us, this card is very big and we don’t have the facility or the number of hands to do an effective job with this card.”
Instead, Houston consulted with friends up north. Michael Lee, who works with the Northeast Document Conservation Center, based in Andover, Mass., Is from Wake Forest and was keen to help Houston and his team at ECU restore the map to the best of its ability.
“Fortunately, they have 19 conservatives on staff,” Houston said of the NEDCC. “So over the course of a whole year, they were able to help fix the map and make it better.”
Houston noted the use of a special type of Japanese paper fiber – known as Kozo – used as repair fabrics to support the restoration of the map.
A few missing gaps on the map – about an inch wide per strip – were a small hurdle for restaurateurs to overcome. Custom paper was created and the color matches the original card to help restore the gaps. Scanned photostats from the Yale University copy were also used to help replace missing information.
“We were able to send the photostats we had scanned to Michael and we ended up filling in all the missing information on the custom paper we had made,” Houston said. “We integrated the visual spaces so that you can’t see them anymore, you see the reliefs and details with precision, as most people want. “
In putting the pieces of the map together during the restoration, Houston insisted on precision.
“The map is renowned for its accuracy. All of the historical comments talked about the accuracy and detail of this map and we wanted to make sure that as we put all the pieces together they ended up in the right place, ”Houston said.
Lee Lolkema, who co-chairs the Shepard-Pruden Library Friends Armchair series, said Monday night’s event was part of a three-part series. During the first event, staff at the Joyner Library said the card would be restored and the second maintenance took place just as it was starting to be restored. Last year the show was canceled due to COVID-19, but this year the show was able to get Houston and Daugherty to say it’s been restored.
“It was a good way to show how the Joyner Library has been good stewards of our history and values our history,” said Lolkema.
The Monday night series is already uploaded to the Shepard-Pruden Library YouTube channel.
The restored Moseley map can now be viewed on the fourth floor of the ECU’s Joyner Library. The Friends of the Library, which hosted the event in Shepard-Pruden, are running three more such events in the series on October 4, 11 and 18.
Thadd White is Group Editor for Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise & Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]