McElfresh Map Company LLC was started in 1993 in Olean, NY with the purchase of a sheet of watercolor paper and a Rapid-o-Graph pen. The watercolors, the colored pencils and the necessary research materials were already on hand. The initial investment was approximately $20.00 and the resulting map was not terribly accomplished. Nevertheless we sent it out to quite a number of people. One of them, a woman involved in book publishing, responded. She verbally tore the map apart. An open minded assessment of her harsh criticism made it clear that in almost every regard she was absolutely right. Our next map embodied all of her suggestions. Our first paying customer became the Harvard Map Collection. That was a promising start.
That first map and the maps that followed were immediately acclaimed by America’s preeminent Civil War historians, Stephen W. Sears, Shelby Foote, Gary Gallagher and James McPherson.
McElfresh Map Company has since prepared and published twenty-three maps and has established a customer base which includes the National Battlefield Park bookstores, History Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, Time-Life, History Channel Magazine, A&E and map libraries throughout the U.S. and Britain. McElfresh Maps are used by the Smithsonian for their seminars and tours and by West Point on their battlefield staff rides.
Over a quarter of a million maps have been sold.
In 2011 a similar situation occurred. McElfresh Map’s cartographer wrote a novel focused on an ardent love, Rock & Roll. No vampires. No werewolves. The completed manuscript was sent out to several literary agents and spent a long time getting nowhere.
Once again, a woman, this time an agent, wrote back and gave a valuable critique of the manuscript. And once again we adopted many of the suggestions and ended up with a better, more intensely focused, and much more vibrant narrative.
The next step. Having entered the publishing world once before with great success and by the side door, McElfresh Map Company thought there was no reason it couldn’t be done again. Tammy Norie Press was born. The first novel off the block is Sidereal Days, The History of Rock & Roll, A Romance.
Ironically, McElfresh wanted to produce hand drawn maps because computer generated maps in 1993 cut trees in half at the margins, creating a disturbing clumsy effect. Twenty years later opting to publish in an e-book format, Tammy Norie Press is again involved in saving trees.