One of the great thematic maps of a 19th American city: a rare 1885 map of San Francisco Chinatown, “a city within the city.”

Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco [bound in] San Francisco Municipal Reports for the Fiscal Year 1884-85

Out of stock

SKU: NL-01199 Categories: , Tag:
Date: 1885
Place: San Francisco
Dimensions: 53 x 21 cm (21 x 8.2 in)
Condition Rating: VG+
Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist


This is the famous San Francisco Chinatown “vice” map, which is bound in its original report of the city’s Board of Supervisors. It was published in the year 1885, just three years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act under President Chester A. Arthur, and generally in a time of anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States.

This map is quite rare, and very similar in content to its larger and virtually unobtainable counterpart, an example of which is found in the David Rumsey Map Collection at Stanford University. The maps hold an important place in the history of 19th century cartography, representing what historian Susan Schulten calls “one of the earliest examples I have seen of a map designed to identify the distribution of ethnicity and vice.” Her entry on the larger map can be found here, and another blog post on the map was done for Wired magazine.

In other words, the map has garnered a lot of attention from both collectors and scholars, especially in recent years, as both groups have increasingly appreciated and studied thematic maps; a trend that has been given boost by the establishment of the PJ Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography at Cornell University.

We encourage anyone who is interested in this map to explore the links above, as these authors have already covered in depth the importance of this map. It is our pleasure to offer it and answer any further questions.

Condition Description

Map in excellent condition. Report covers worn.


Woodbridge, Sally Byrne. San Francisco in Maps & Views. New York: Rizzoli, 2006, pp. 90-1.

Rumsey #5807; PJ Mode Collection #1093; cf. Rumsey #6714.001.