I'm not sure about some of the symbology and labeling choices.
- Why are some rivers black and some gray?
- Most cities have their label horizontal to the page, but a few have angled (or even slightly curved?) labels. Does that signify anything?
- Is the gray stuff in the ocean and elsewhere some sort of texture? It doesn't come across well in these images (maybe it looks better on paper).
- Railroads aren't often depicted in red. It's not wrong to do so, but think about "visual hierarchy". Red stands out so the railroads appear to be the main focus of the map. Is that the case?
A couple of suggestions:
Have you thought about adding terrain to the map?
When I'm doing historical maps I like to use fonts that contribute to the historical feel. I'm not sure what fonts might be good for your period/area, maybe someone could recommend some.
For the rivers, I used different line weights for the major and minor rivers. Do you think it would look better to use one weight for all waterways?
I did angle some place names where they were close together. I'm sure I can figure out another way to present these.
As for rail lines, I haven't decided yet if I am going to keep them or not.
The grey splotches or marks are a texture that I was considering using.
I was going for a more hand-drawn, antique feeling. The fonts I used for the city names is Caslon Antique. For major towns and Austin, the capital, I used Blue Highway (more modern, but a nice sans serif font.)
I am considering adding terrain, but want to go for the same hand drawn look. I am experimenting with Illustrator brushes to create hills and mountains. Also thinking about re-inking the waterways with my Wacom to extend the hand drawn appearance.
Thanks for bringing up some good points. I would enjoy any other suggestions for improving what I have.