George F. Cram

Map of Milwaukee, 1895
Color lithograph
20 x 13.50 x 24.12 in
SKU: 10777g
This is an original color lithograph map of the City of Milwaukee, published in 1895 by the Chicago mapmaker George Franklin Cram. It provides an excellent historic view of the city during the late nineteenth century, highlighting major neighborhoods, parks, companies and other historic landmarks.

20 x 13.5 inches, map
30.63 x 24.13 inches, frame
Inscribed lower left "Map of Milwaukee; Published by George F. Cram; 61-63 Plymouth Place, Chicago"
Framed to conservation standards using 100 percent rag silk-lined matting with a 1/4 inch bevel and museum glass, housed in a gold and bol metal gilded moulding.

The George F. Cram Company traces its ancestry back to 1867, when a merchant named Rufus Blanchard, originally from Massachusetts, took his nephew George F. Cram into business with him in Evanston, Illinois, near Chicago. Prior to that, back East, Blanchard had prospered through the sale of globes, maps, and books, but after the Civil War had moved to the Midwest. He brought Cram into the trade as a partner.

Cram, who was born on May 20, 1842, was fairly young at the time. He had served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and, reportedly, had a role as a cartographer for General Ulysses S. Grant. He also wrote several letters while serving under General William T. Sherman and participating in that military commander's celebrated "march to the sea." Years later, Cram's biography and letters would command enough historical interest to find their way into print.

The company of the uncle and nephew, which sold maps and atlases, was named Blanchard & Cram. However, in 1869, Cram took full control of the firm, renamed it George F. Cram, and moved it to Chicago, where, initially, it was a supply house for traveling book salesmen. The great Chicago fire of 1871 destroyed that business, however, and when Cram re-established the company as the Cram Map Depot, he reverted to producing and selling maps and atlases, which he had been doing in his partnership with Blanchard.

By 1875, the Cram Map Depot had begun publishing a wide range of atlases, including its Atlas of the World series. It was a series that, with several modifications and revisions, would remain in print for over 70 years. It was also the core business of the company right through World War I and the 1920s.

Today, the Indianapolis-based The George F. Cram Company, Inc. remains a leading publisher and manufacturer of maps, atlases, globes, and related commercial and educational supplies.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 55. St. James Press, 2003.