Map of the Month — July 2013


NYC - [191--].Fl

“Map showing the Brooklyn Rapid Transit System,” ca. 1918, NYC – [191–]. FL; Brooklyn Historical Society.

 This month’s Map of the Month features the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) System circa 1918. The BRT was formed in 1896, dissolved in 1919, and reorganized as the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) in 1923.  However, that is about as much on train history that this piece will convey!  What I want to focus on is the publisher of this map, Ohman Map Company.  In an earlier MOTM we highlighted another obscure and rare gem put out by Ohman. From information on a map dealer’s website it seems that Ohman entered into the NYC map publishing scene around 1898 when he began publishing with the well-known G.W. & C.B. Cotton firm, after which time the company began publishing under the name of Colton, Ohman & Co.  In 1901 August R. Ohman took over the business and began publishing under his name.

Who was the person behind the company, who was Ohman? I was able to find the proprietor of the company, August R. Ohman, in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He lived at 349 Central Park West with his wife, Alice M. Ohman, and a servant, Elizabeth Leahu.  According to the incredibly detailed Census record, I discovered that he immigrated to the United States in 1894 from Sweden, that he and his wife rented their apartment on Central Park West, that his wife was originally from New Jersey, and that they did not have any children.  By searching his name in the cemetery’s burial database, I also learned that Ohman was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in April 1934.  If any of our readers have additional details on Ohman or his company, please share!

Elizabeth Call

About Elizabeth Call

I have been the librarian at the Brooklyn Historical Society since 2006. In addition to managing the reference function for the library, I am responsible for overseeing the books, maps, and special collections.
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