It Was 50 Years — Today

One of McElfresh Map Company’s Influences

With McElfresh Maps on exhibit, I was asked what were my influences. There are many, but a significant one was a family trip…a remarkable one….

Tammy Norie at Whisstock’s Boatyard, Woodbridge, Suffolk, England. June 12, 1969

The First Tammy Norie

As a kid I traveled extensively with my family.   As a member of the Niagara Frontier Ski Team my winter trips were invariably to ski races in distant parts of New York or New England.   One summer, my dad, a WWII naval veteran, bought a 40 foot sail boat and berthed it in Essex, Ct.  That became our home away from home and vacation outing each summer.  Throughout high school, our vessel, the Tammie Norie, a 40 foot Ketch, sailed along the New England Coast and in Long Island Sound. 

The Boatyard Fire

A winter boat yard fire in 1968 in Essex consumed a number of boats including the Tammy Norie.  My Dad was devastated and his search for a replacement vessel was very disappointing.   He ultimately concluded he really just wanted another Tammy Norie.  That meant contacting the original builder in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England and commissioning an almost identical vessel. 

The New Tammy Norie

A new problem…when the yacht was constructed and ready—our sailboat was 3,000 miles away.  Obviously an ocean crossing for somebody was in prospect.  So 50 years ago, at the end of my freshman year at St. Lawrence University, I got to go to England with my family.  My sister and I had been drafted into service as crew.

A Trip to London

We had to spend a day in London to pick up necessary travel documents and as a Beatle fan I took advantage of my proximity to Apple Records in central London.  As chance would have it, as I stood gazing at The Beatle’s town house headquarters in awe, I had the opportunity to sneak in when the door swung open for a messenger to leave.  Although awestruck and bewildered, I managed to grab a few postcards at the reception desk before being summarily ushered out.

The Voyage

I was now ready to sail the high seas with my family and our one recruited crew member, who later became my brother-in-law.  We sailed down the Deben River to the English Channel and through the Bay of Biscay to Madeira off the coast of Africa.  We crossed the Atlantic Ocean propelled along by the same strong, steady trade winds that brought Columbus to America.  We stopped in Bermuda for a brief refit and rest.  We completed the voyage with a six day sail to Block Island and another final short day sail brought us to our ultimate destination, up the Connecticut River to Essex, Ct. 

The Influence on McElfresh Map Company

My Dad was our navigator on this voyage. He relied on essentially the same technology that Columbus used on his voyage in 1492:  a sexton, the sun and the night stars. That became the model for preparing my maps—keep it simple, stick with the old tried and true techniques..

The Miraculous Maps of D-Day

As we approach the 75th anniversary of D-Day, McElfresh Map Company honors the Engineer Model Making Detachment.  All of these mapmakers knew where the D-Day landings would come, more than a year before June 6, 1944. They were working class and middle class, British and American, men and women.  They came from unlikely civilian backgrounds to be providing indispensable military services.  They were painters, sculptors, scene designers, ornamental plasterers, architects, draftsmen, cabinet makers, carpenters, geographers, teachers, metal workers – there were even toy designers.

The American members were officially in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The women were the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (W.A.A.F) and the other men were part of what was known as V-Section, the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.).

We also honor the pilots that took part in the intensive aerial photographic missions.  Their high altitude photographs were pieced together as mosaics, creating de-facto maps.  Innumerable flights were flown over occupied Europe by aircraft equipped with twelve inch Fairchild cameras, K17 six inch cameras for multiplex mapping and K18 twenty-four inch cameras for large scale coverage.  Spitfires, P-38 Lightnings and Mosquitos flew the missions.  At times, they swooped down low to capture oblique photographs, and the planes returned to England with foliage caught in the fuselage. 

These were ordinary people in extraordinary times doing amazing things in a war the world absolutely needed to be won.

McElfresh Maps to be Exhibited at the Cattaraugus County Museum and Research Library

A gettysburg Map in Progress
A Gettysburg Map in Progress

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.

Biographical Information

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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.

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A New Year and New Maps

I just put the finishing touches on two new battlefield maps. One I had started quite some time ago, put it aside for another map and forgot about it. It’s always nice to find a project in progress. The other map was a bit of a challenge. A family friend asked if I could do a map. Doing a map is easy for me–it’s the research that tends to trick me, but in this case it was more than just the research, it was the weather. I’ll explain.

Stones River Map

Stones River, a battle that took place during the Civil War, was the map I found. I had originally started a version of it for Stephen Sear’s Lincoln’s Lieutenants, an excellent history and a must read if you are interested in the American Civil War.

Stone River, TN Map
Stones River on display at McElfresh Map Company.

I am very pleased with the results of my Stones River map. It is a relatively obscure western battlefield.  The significance of the battle: the relative victory came at a low point in the Union’s fortunes and Lincoln in gratitude thanked General Rosecrans, the Union Commander, saying that had it been a Union defeat instead of a Union victory the nation could scarcely have lived over it.  Later in the war Lincoln mentioned the victory at Stones River and General Grant scoffed that it was no victory.

For Grant, victory meant flags being surrendered, armies being disarmed and marching off the field.  But when an Army has endured a long string of stinging defeats, an outcome only slightly better than a stand-off can seem like a moral victory, a turning of the pages, a new lease on life.  For Lincoln, whose political senses were fine-tuned, the equivocal outcome of Stones River, was to a despondent Union public, a comparative victory at a point in time when an actual, outright defeat, could have been a disaster.

There are cotton fields in the map which are always a treat to do. Many pine trees – always a nice effect. And corn fields, my absolute favorite embellishment—delightful corn stalks with little yellow kernals—dot the map. 

It is always nice to bring attention to the western battlefields which tend to be overlooked.

Bastogne Belgium Map

The other map I finished was Bastogne.  Bastogne was a town that figured heavily in World War II. Family friends asked me to do a map of a battle where their father had fought.  He was a man I knew and greatly admired.  I was thrilled.  But I didn’t want to commit until I knew I could do it.  He documented his service during the battle. Mapping the area in which he saw battle will take a little more research on my part.

Bastogne Map
Bastogne Map on display at McElfresh Map Company. The green is deceptive, it was a very snowy battlefield–a mapping conundrum

But in the mean time I decided to do a study.  Reason being—the weather, how does one do a map and depict the weather.  The winter weather was notorious during the Battle of the Bulge and had an impact on the battle. But how does one, or should one, depict that in a map.  In the end, on my study at least, I opted to go for a green terrain.  Weather, at least in my home base western NY and I’m betting Belgium as well, changes every hour, but the terrain—fields take seasons, trees take years, river courses takes centuries (and can sometimes dramatically change) and those beautiful mountain take eons to take hold.

Currently on the map table: The finishing touches on a small map of Stones River, TN,  the research for the second Bastogne Map, and a very interesting one for me—a local map of my parish and two other local parishs.

And on a Completely Different Note

And on another table, at least for a couple of days – parts of my small collection of Rock memorabilia.  My son’s co-worker is a fan of that era, the music and the rock and rollers.  It was treat for me to bring it all out—especially my short arm Rickenbacker.

Headstock of a Rickenbacker Guitar
Rickenbacker guitar with extra strings just waiting for a new gig.

A Daybook in a Life–Guitar Excerpts

It’s Good to Give Yourself a Good Scare Every Once and Awhile

Prologue

My guitar playing moved from the confines of my apartment when my cousin Wade moved to NYC.  We practiced together and took our act to the rooftops and the streets of Manhattan.  It was, needless to say, exhilarating.

I have continued to play ever since.  When my children were little I serenaded them every night with a selection of Buddy Holly, The Beatles and my own songs.  Then I would knock them out by reading my latest history book.  You’d think that they would have had enough of me and my guitar.

My daughter, bless her heart, is about to graduate from college.  Ever since she turned 21 she has asked me to play at her favorite haunt on open mike night.  I have always agreed.  But we never set up a date.  Until last week.  It was the last “open-mike” night before she graduated.  It was now or never.

I gave a talk about Civil War Confederate generals at a historical society and then hit the bar with my guitar—a diverse evening if ever there was one.  Both events went well.  My knowledge of Civil War history definitely surpasses my talent as a rock-n-roll guitarist.  Both are great fun and equally exhilarating.

But it all started  back in 1984–note the Daybook entries:

Tuesday June 19, 1984—New York City—Back on the job—Not so very hot and nice and sunny.  Drove to Poughkeepsie then back roads to Hudson then down to Saugerties.  Home.  I went to L and H’s  and met Wade and L and H.  They were on their way to their Pre-Cana conference at St. Jean Baptiste so Wade and I  had a bite to eat at the 3 Star Restaurant and talked computers, job interviews, rock n roll and the insurance business.  We all met up there and went back to the co-op.  I walked Wade part way home then headed home up 3rd Avenue.

Tuesday July 3, 1984—New York City—Business day up-state.  Talked to Wade immediately upon arrival home and halfway through my walk met he and J.L  at Pancho Villas.  She is from Iowa.  Looks about 35.  Actually 21 or so.  She’s met all kinds of movie directors and film stars and seems to have enjoyed an amazing career in New York in one month.

We left her off and went over to Wade’s and played guitar.

Wednesday, July 4, 1984—New York City—I got up in the middle of the morning and got into my white trousers, inked up white shirt and sear sucker jacket to see some air show over the Intrepid.  All the way down to 57th and 11th Ave.  I sat down on the stoop of some studio-like building and, keeping my eye open for WWII bombers, I started work, on scrap yellow papers from Pancho Villas, on a new play.  I got something down but there were no planes.

I spent the afternoon reading and playing guitar.  I’d told Wade the night before I’d write a song and so I did that.  Later, I went down to watch the fireworks with Wade and J.A. from Sutton Place at 55th Street.  It was really nice.  A huge, hippy crowd and a soft, warm breezy night and the display framed in the buildings, had a homier effect than normal.  Some sailors were almost turned around by J.A.   We all went and had a coke and I went home from there.

A DayBook in a Life: Elderly Neighbor Excerpts

Topographical map of the City of New York : showing original water courses and made land New York : Ferd. Mayer & Co., c1865. Via Library of Congress, Geography and Map DivisionPrologue

My second apartment in NYC was a 5th floor walk-up on 91st and Lexington. It was nice – a living room, a small kitchen, a bedroom.  The bathroom was nicely tiled with, ironically enough, American Olean Tile and featured an authentic stain glass window.  The living area overlooked the 92nd Street Y.   The apartment was rent stabilized—which was great.  Initially the rent was under $300 and only modest increases were allowed throughout my tenancy.

On the fourth floor, below my apartment and that of my next door neighbor, in a six-room flat, boasting two fireplaces, a kitchen and a pantry, overlooking both 91st and Lex,  lived Mrs. Graham.  Mrs. Graham could not remember when she moved in, it was after the War, but she wasn’t sure which war, could have been WWI, may have been WWII.  I didn’t pursue it.   Her rent was $104 throughout her tenancy.  She was convinced the landlords were trying to kill her.  They weren’t.

Mrs. Graham and I became fast acquaintances.  When I introduced myself to her the first time I pronounced my name phonetically Mac.EL.fresh.   I was used to talking to the elderly; my grandmother back home was hard of hearing–pronunciation and pitch were important.    Shortly thereafter there was a timid knock at the door and Mrs. Graham queried me about my name.  She had picked up a package, brought it up to me and saw the name McElfresh spelled out.  Puzzled she said, “I have relatives in Maryland.  They have the same name, but they pronounce it McElfresh.”

Her pronunciation was the same as our pronunciation – we were somehow distantly related.

Mrs. Graham was old and needed help.   I found myself frequently changing light bulbs, feeding her cats, running errands, typing her angry memos to the landlord, letters to the editor, and other diverse correspondence.  I agreed to type a poem that she had written, “Home”.   Needless to say it was an epic poem.

In return she baked me things.  I saw her kitchen, the cats on the table, the milk sitting out, and then there was the rattling I heard one day.  I glanced around and under the table was an open coffee can—the rattling was the mass of cockroaches crawling around it in.  So when baked goods were offered, I very politely thanked her and tossed the delectables out—living in NYC in the 70’ and 80’s a good sense of self-preservation was necessary.

My grandmother loved my selected Mrs. Graham stories—and there always one to relay to her.  Even after Mrs. Graham passed away, for my Grandmother’s sake, I kept her alive and continued to pass along stories.

Select Mrs. Graham Entries

Thursday, Jan 5, 1984—New York City—Mrs. Graham is downtown in court today–her malpractice suit against Lenox Hill Hospital.  She used my credit card last night to order a Fugazy Limousine.

Tuesday July 3, 1984—New York City–Incidentally, Mrs. Graham has been having difficulties and I was supposed to take care of her cats if anything went wrong or if she had to go to the hospital.  She said on the telephone, after a visit to her doctor, that she is in trouble.  We whispered a small prayer.

Wed. Nov. 28, 1984—New York City—Mrs. Graham called first thing in the morning to say that she was having a coronary.  I got down there and found her weak as a kitten and panting.  Sat her down in her chair where she leaned back, tears streaming down her face and breathing strenuously.  I called her doctor and got her nurse who telephoned for an ambulance.  When it arrived fifteen minutes – in between the police came and went and Mrs. Graham gave me instructions in a very weak voice to have the cats killed and herself cremated—the crew said, “Where’s the emergency?” and indicated that Mrs. Graham was fine.  I was a bit flustered, truly.  I had to deny that I called 911.  Anyway, I called her niece K.R. and another ambulance came and things ended up all right.

Mon. Dec. 3, 1984—New York City—Had a phone call from Mrs. Graham.  She sounded fine.   Took an abbreviated walk.  Dad bought 32 acres, including a quarter-mile of shoreline in Vinalhaven, off Maine.

Map:   Topographical map of the City of New York : showing original water courses and made land
New York : Ferd. Mayer & Co., c1865.
Via Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

A Daybook in a Life — Day 200

A Map of the Trenton and New Brunswick Turnpike Road

THE SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

Sat. July 21, 1984—New York–M.H.and I headed off to Princeton in a pouring rain.  She brought along a bag of cherries and we drove slowly down Rte. 1 in New Jersey with cherry pits shooting out from first one side of the car, then the other.

At Princeton we visited the Art Gallery and ate 2 eggs and toast each at Harry’s.  I don’t suppose I care to live there.  It reminded me of a prosperous stock broker town in Westchester.  Oh well.  It was only ever an idea anyway.

We stopped in Little Falls and telephoned Zach.  Back in NY we got Chinese to go at Egg Foks or something.  Zach arrived and ate one egg roll and off we went to see a suspension.  Some man hanging by meat hooks on a wire over 11th Street.  I was quite hoping that the police would arrive in time to do a suspension of their own but they didn’t. M.H. was up in the window—she was on hold in case they—can you believe it!—needed somebody to put the hooks in.

It happened and got over with by maybe 8 o’clock.  Some Puerto Rican super was extremely impressed when I explained to him what the mechanics of this thing were going to consist of.  We took M.H. home then went to see Ghostbusters.  It was all right.  There were plans to go to Mystic in the morning so I went right to sleep.

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Note:  More on the suspension:  It really did happen and you can learn more at the Art Gallery NSW.  The artist was Stelarc, the suspension was organized by the Mo Gallery.  He was suspended from the fourth floor on a cable between two buildings on East 11th Street. The suspension lasted 12 minutes.  I did witness it and was appalled at such a macabre, useless presentation of what?  Was it uplifting? Was it inspiring? Or was it just a disturbing spectacle in a strange period of time full of them?

Map of the Trenton and New Brunswick Turnpike Road:  Via the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

A Daybook in the Life–Days 180-183

McElfresh Family Yacht<br /> Tammy Norie <br /> Whiskey Delta 6553

McElfresh Family Yacht
Tammy Norie
Whiskey Delta 6553

Prologue: Tammy Norie is the name of a small Scottish bird, a puffin.

Timeframe:  Mid-1960’s

The Boat:  The first Tammy Norie was built in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England by Whisstock’s Boat Yard, situated on the Deben River, several miles upriver from the English Channel.  It was sailed solo across the Atlantic Ocean by a British doctor, William McCurdy.  The voyage was a personal challenge which Dr. McCurdy set for himself.  Satisfied, he put his boat up for sale in Essex, CT. and flew home.

Bus McElfresh from landlocked Olean in upstate New York, had served in World War II in the Pacific Theater.  He captained a PT (Patrol Torpedo) Boat and fell in love with boats and the ocean.  Twenty dry years later, a successful business and family man, he got back on the water.  He took his family for a week  on a chartered sailboat.  That didn’t settle his sea-faring spirit, it only stirred it all the more.

An avid reader of Yachting magazine, he saw an ad for a sailboat in Essex, CT.  He loaded the family into the station wagon and set off to take a look.  It wasn’t quite what he was looking for—but another boat was.  A beautiful British built 40 foot ketch.  Dark blue wooden hull.  Dark reddish sails  Bowsprit.  A stunning vessel–Dr. McCurdy’s Tammy Norie.

Mr. McElfresh made an offer and the family spent a couple of years sailing the Tammy Norie on Long Island Sound and along the Atlantic Coast of New England.  The Tammy Norie spent winters in storage in Essex, Ct.  Mid winter 1968, a fire roared through the winter boat storage barn in Essex destroying a number of boats—the Tammy Norie was one of them

It was decided to rebuild the Tammy Norie at the same yard in Woodbridge that had built the original beloved vessel.  The boat was built. The family now owned a brand new Tammy Norie.  Difficulty: it was in England and they had to get the 40 foot sailboat to Essex, CT.  Quick solution—fly to England and sail the Tammy Norie home.    The four member McElfresh family (parents and college age daughter and son) and a recruited crewman sailed the Tammy Norie from Woodbridge down the English Channel  through the  Bay of Biscay  to the Portuguese island of Madeira off the coast of Africa.  Powered by the trade winds, the same wind that brought Columbus to America in 1492, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Bermuda and finally on to Essex, CT.

The trip was successful. The crewmen married the captain’s daughter and Bus McElfresh’s family sailed the new Tammy Norie along the New England coast until his death in 1991. During those years, the boat was harbored in Essex, CT, Camden, ME and finally in Stonington, CT.

Fast forward to 1984–the boat after being based in Camden for more than a decade had to be sailed to a new home port in Connecticutt. The first segment of the journey as documented in the daybook:

Thursday, June 28, 1984—New York City to Camden, ME—Zach and I picked up M.H. at 8:00 and Jay at 8:15.  Breakfast at Sherwood Diner in Saugatuck, or someplace, Conn.  Arrived Camden at 6:00.  Dinner at the Sail Loft with the Eddy’s and McClellen’s.  Overnight on the boat.

Friday, June 29, 1984—Sailing—Left Camden at 10:45.  Foggy and cold.  Wind off the bow.  By midnight entire crew has been violently sick except Jay.  A long day.  M.H. looking pale and big-eyed and very curly hair.

Saturday  June 30, 1984—Sailing—Mom’s Birthday.  Foggy day at sea.  Saw a whale or two in Cape Cod Bay.  A lovely dinner in the Canal though fog hugged the entrance like an old horror movie. Arrived Quissett at 12 midnight.  A grateful crew.  Jay, Zack and I stayed aboard.  M.H. and Dad retired to the Hamilton residence with Mom.

Sunday, July 1, 1984—Falmouth, MA to New York City—Got up at 7:30.  Paddled around the harbor a bit.  Dad arrived and we all went to the house for showers and breakfast.  The McClellen’s arrived with my car.  Drove down to check in with Dad then to Curtis Food Shop and bought a box of Michael Jackson cards with Amy, a pack of “Nerds” for Carrie.  All went swimming at Wood Neck Beach then took off about 4:30 for Mystic.  Went to see the house then a very pleasant dinner at the Seaman’s Inn.  Dropped M.H. off first, then Jay.  Zach staying the night.  Home by 12:30.

Happy 25th Anniversary to McElfresh Map Company

On March 19, 1993 we started McElfresh Map Company on the 5th floor of the First National Bank Building in Olean, NY.  Our first map was the Battlefield of Pea Ridge and the Shiloh Battlefield was on the table.  We didn’t know what we were doing or getting ourselves in to–but it has been an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience–every minute of it.

Torn in Two Exhibit–Ford’s Theater Washington, DC 2012.

Some of the highlights:

    • We have printed and sold over a quarter of a million maps in different formats.
    • In the early days, as we were sweating out the future of the company, and in the same week that the bank nixed our loan application, History Book Club purchased 2,000 of our boxed sets of Gettysburg maps.  We were HBC members and we ordered one–to see how it was packaged.  Imagine our surprise when we received a post card that informed us that they had already sold out.
    • Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War was published by Harry N. Abrams and is out of print,selling over 35,000 copies. The book resulted in a  presentation at a Long Island bookstore that was taped by C-Span Book TV.  A family friend was visiting during the holidays and woke us up to watch the first telecast–there was no need to wake us up,  the broadcast was repeated many times and is still available on the C-Span website.
    • Our maps have been used by Library of America in their Civil War Series.
    • We have given presentations all over from London to Harvard, Milwaukee to Miami and beyond; our research travels have taken us across the country from Gettysburg to Montana, from Omaha to DC with many stops in between.  With a young family, the kids were usually in tow–these were our family vacations and they were a blast.
    • We have had great customers over the years, some of them are quite famous.
    • We have been kindly helped by many knowledgeable people.
    • We have been given breaks and introductions by so many in the publishing and mapping fields.
    • Letter from Shelby Foote

      Famous historians such as Shelby Foote, Stephen Sears, James McPherson and Sir John Keegan have written appreciative letters.

    • Our maps were on display at the Quick Center at St. Bonaventure University.
    • Our Underground Railroad Map travelled with the Torn in Two exhibit during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
    • Throughout his Civil War years of study, Stephen Sears was Earl’s idol. And Earl got to work with Mr. Sears when he prepared the maps for Sears’ latest history, Lincoln’s Lieutenants.  It was a personal highlight–a real honor and a treat.

There were times when we struggled and dealt with an unsavory element–all small businesses do.  But would we trade those 25 years for anything else?  Never. Ever. It has been a great run.

Here’s to the next 25 years!

Quick Center Exhibit

A Daybook in a Life — St. Patrick’s Day 1984

Sat. March 17—New York City—St. Patrick’s Day.  Woke up, got out of bed, worked at my play for a couple of hours and then bundled up and headed downtown, to 9th Ave and 42nd Street to buy tickets to Fool for Love, the Sam Shepard play.  I stopped by Brooks Brothers on the way to buy a new coat and with the St. Patrick’s crowd milling around and my shamrock tie and pretty dreary looking coat, the 2nd floor guy didn’t hardly give me the time to say what I was looking for before he told me categorically that they didn’t have any such thing and then ushered me out the door.

I fought my way back uptown and watched the parade for quite a while from in front of Gimbel’s then came home and ate apple, cheese and a bagel then out again.  It was quite cold really, with periods of bright sun, but it was blustery and grey most of the time.  The parade this year seemed kind of subdued emotionally.  I think politics is creeping in to a damaging degree. I was appalled at the make-up of the Irish Northern Aid committees. I thought to myself they’ll need more help than that.