Robert Augustyn, Henry Hudson, And America’s First Synagogue

Today’s New York Times reports on a fascinating 1740 map. It’s the first to honor Henry Hudson for navigating “his” river — and also the first to show the first synagogue consecrated in North America, on Manhattan’s Mill Street.

The rare map is on display in New York for the first time. And — equally fascinating for Westporters — one of our neighbors played a key role in its acquisition.

Robert Augustyn

Robert Augustyn is a dealer in fine antique maps. He owns Martayan Lan Fine Antiques Maps, Atlases and Globes, the wonderfully named Manhattan firm that’s offering one of only 3 engravings of the John Carwitham map known to exist. It was discovered recently in a private collection in Italy.

In Manhattan in Maps 1527-2014, Augustyn explains that before 1740, calling the waterway “Hudson’s River” would have lent support to Dutch territorial claims. Hudson was English by birth, but had been hired by Netherlands businessmen.

Augustyn — who has lived here with his wife Katie since 1996 — has lent his map expertise to the Westport Historical Society, most notably in a 2011 exhibition. He’s involved in more contemporary activities too, including the library, Little League and A Better Chance of Westport.

The “Carwitham Plan” map can be seen through Sunday, at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair (Park Avenue Armory). If you’d like it for your wall, the minimum price is $125,000.

(Click here for the full New York Times story.)

Details from the 1740 Carwitham Plan map. “Hudson’s (or North) River” can be seen on the left. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

9 responses to “Robert Augustyn, Henry Hudson, And America’s First Synagogue

  1. Rindy Higgins

    correction: Westport Historical Society Sound and the Saugatuck exhibit (that I curated and in which we had Robert’s old map) was 2012. This is not to diminish these exciting antique maps and fun stories that they show.

  2. According to this story, the exhibit I referred to ended in January 2011:

  3. Rindy Higgins

    Dan…ok….earlier exhibit..thanks for clarifying

  4. Jack Whittle

    Great story – and you know how I like original, antique maps Dan, but at $125,000 this one won’t show up on the walls at my house anytime soon

  5. Jacques Voris

    I was always more of a fan of the Castello Plan of New Amsterdam/New York. Aside from being first, the man who drew it up, Jacques Cortelyou, is my great *mumble* grandfather.

  6. Dan, I always thought the Touro Synagogue in Newport RI was the oldest synagogue in the US. See its website at

  7. Maybe there’s a difference between “oldest” and “first consecrated”?