Olean, NY—June 2, 2019–McElfresh Map Company LLC of Olean, NY is delighted to announce that a number of the company’s original hand-drawn manuscript maps will be on display at an exhibit at the Cattaraugus County Museum and Research Library in Machias, New York. The exhibit will open June 8, 2019, with a presentation by Earl McElfresh at 1 p.m.
The exhibit, Mapmaker: The work of Earl McElfresh and the McElfresh Map Company will feature a wide selection of maps including the two part Gettysburg Map, the three part D-Day Map, the Little Big Horn Map and Pearl Harbor Map among others.
Mr. McElfresh said, ‘It will be wonderful to see these maps on display. Each map was a daily companion for months and months as it sat on my desk as a work in progress. But as soon as a map was completed it got shipped off for publication and thereafter the manuscript map was shelved away. I never really had a chance to look at or appreciate the original map again.”
Origins of the Company and Breakthrough Developments
Mr. McElfresh’s presentation will describe the origins of the map company, where his interest in mapping came from and a little background information on some of the displayed maps. It will include a description of the resources that were used to accurately and dramatically replicate the landscapes where armies met, fought and made history.
“As I completed the maps, I made careful notes of my process including the resources that I relied on for accurate data. I also detailed the efforts our company made in selling and distributing the maps,” Mr. McElfresh said. “Reading over my notes to prepare for this talk has been very intriguing and rather impressive to recall the consistent collaborative efforts and commitment my wife, Michiko, and I made to establish our map company as a viable business.”
Transatlantic Ocean Crossing Influences Mapping Interest
Incidentally, this map exhibit coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of a transatlantic ocean crossing that Mr. McElfresh and his family made on a 40 foot sailing ketch. His father, a US Navy PT Boat skipper in the Pacific during WWII, navigated the yacht Tammy Norie relying on essentially the same technology that Columbus used on his voyage: a sexton, the sun and the night stars. The trip that started in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England, took the Tammy Norie to Madeira across the Atlantic to Bermuda and then to the vessel’s home port in Essex, CT. Mr. McElfresh attributes some of his interest in maps to that experience and this voyage.
As cartographer for McElfresh Map Company, Earl B. McElfresh prepares historical base maps. He is the author of Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War (Abrams, 1999) and contributing editor for the 2007 edition of Company Commander by Charles B. McDonald. He prepared maps for Library of America’s four volume Civil War set and for Lincoln’s Lieutenants by Stephen Sears.
The United States’ pre-eminent historians including Shelby Foote, Stephen Sears and James B. McPherson have acclaimed Mr. McElfresh’s maps. During its 26 years in business, the company has sold well over a quarter of million maps. Mr. McElfresh has given presentations on Civil War mapping at a number of venues including The Smithsonian, The National Archives, The Library of Congress, The New York Public Library, The Harvard Map Collection, The Warburg Institute in London, National Geographic and on C-Span Book TV. A number of his maps were previously on display at the Quick Arts Center at St. Bonaventure University.
He and his wife live in Olean, New York and are the parents of three adult children.