Manuscript map of 21 named properties in Sherburn, New York, 12x15½”. Undated. With Autograph Note Signed, in pencil, to James Coolidge:
Ten years before the Civil War, Maynard, a popular Washington, D.C. dentist, invented the breech-loading gun known as the Maynard Carbine, which was used by thousands of Union and Confederate Cavalry soldiers. This map may be the earliest known example of his youthful work.
The note reads: “I can do nothing toward finishing the map until I have the distances which I have marked...If you can ascertain these distances, I think I can get along. P.S. When you have marked the distances on the lines, hand the sheet to Father, and he will send to bring it to me…Put the distances down in chains and links...The scale I use is set for that way of measuring…”
When 19 or 20 year-old Edward Maynard, drew this map of the properties adjacent to the farm of his father, a New York state legislator and County Sheriff, he had just dropped out of West Point where he had found the drill too strenuous for his “delicate health”. Returning to his home in Sherburn to begin the self-study of surveying, civil engineering, drawing, architecture and anatomy - all in preparation for his chosen career of Dentistry – he began to design and forge his own dental instruments, personally welding iron and steel at a local blacksmith’s shop. After briefly practicing in Utica, in 1835, he moved permanently to Washington, D.C. , where, in addition to his dental practice, he displayed skill wood engraving, wood carving, clay modeling, painting and architectural drawing (which “ranked with the best efforts of the most accomplished experts.”) Working for a time in Europe as “Imperial Court Dentist” to the Czar of Russia, he returned to Washington to care for the teeth of an exclusive clientele that included several Presidents. But all this was prelude to the firearms invention that made him world famous. The Maynard Papers at the Library of Congress apparently date from 1836, when he moved to Washington.