From The Guardian:
I once ordered a copy of Charles Booth’s 1889 Descriptive Map of London Poverty from the London Topographical Society. Weeks, then months, passed, and I heard nothing. I may even have forgotten that I had ordered it. Then, early one Sunday morning, I was woken up by the sound of the doorbell. An elderly gentleman in a deerstalker hat with a tube under his arm asked my name, confirmed that I was the intended recipient of Booth’s map, handed it to me, and was off. If only all purchases were made like that.
As any good geographer will tell you, all of life lies in maps and atlases, whether it be Booth’s analysis of London, or something more monumental, like Joan Blaeu’s magisterial Atlas Maior of 1665, recently reprinted by Taschen. If Booth’s map offers you a tour of London’s streets, Blaeu’s mammoth atlas is a round-the-world trip from the safety of your armchair. As Blaeu wrote, “we may set eyes on far-off places without so much as leaving home: we traverse impassable ranges, cross rivers and seas on safety … by the power of the imagination we swiftly journey East-West and North-South at a single glance”.