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American Atlases

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Washington DC
John Reid. The American Atlas. New York: J. Reid, 1796. Folio. Rebound in half leather and marbled boards. Complete with 21 engraved maps (20 listed in index plus a plan of Washington DC). Title page and map of North America with considerable conservation, map of Washington with relatively minor wear at edges, and the rest in very good condition. Entire atlas carefully conserved and very attractive. Phillips: 1216; Rumsey: 845.

Though important, Carey was not the only American publisher issuing geographic works in the late 18th century. Another significant figure was New York bookseller, John Reid. In 1795, William Winterbotham issued in London An Historical, Geographical, Commercial and Philosophical View of the American United States…, which was accompanied by An American Atlas consisting of nine maps of parts of America by John Russell. The following year Reid issued an American edition of Winterbotham's work, this time accompanied by a more substantial American Atlas containing 21 maps. Six of these-North America, South America, West Indies, United States, Kentucky, and Washington D.C.-were direct copies of the Russell maps, but the others were new maps, although these maps and the concept of the atlas were greatly influenced by Carey's atlas of the year before. Though Philadelphia was the center of most American mapmaking in the eighteenth century, the atlas was engraved and produced in New York, and when issued, it was only the second American atlas published in this country. Carey appears to have had better commercial instincts, for while his atlas went into further editions, this is the only edition of the Reid atlas, and its scarcity seems to indicate it was not a financial success. $18,500
[ Click here to see map of Virginia ]

Mathew Carey. Carey's American Pocket Atlas. Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1805. Third edition. Octavo. Full contemporary leather, with some wear at extremities, and at top and bottom of hinges. Title page and table of contents with ca. 3 x 1 1/2" missing section in lower left, crudely repaired. Duplicate title page separated and with considerable wear. Old catalogue entry glued to flyleaf, also with considerable manuscript. Interior text with toning and some spotting, but generally good. Complete with 20 engraved maps. With library bookplate and each map unobtrusively blindstamped. Large, folding map of the United States with wear and staining. Three maps with old stain in top margin. Other maps in very good condition. Though with some wear, the maps from this famous atlas are generally in better than average condition. Phillips: 1368; Rumsey: 2637.

The appeal of a small America atlas or gazetteer was demonstrated by Joseph Scott in 1795, and Mathew Carey was quick to pick up on the idea, issuing his own American Pocket Atlas the following year, with 19 maps of the United States and its states and territories. Like his regular atlas, this was a successful publication with a second edition in 1801 and then a third in 1805. This last edition, issued just two years after the Louisiana Purchase, is the first to include Carey's interesting map of this entire newly acquired territory. All the other territories and states of the United States are depicted and described in maps and text, and a folding table at the back includes information from the federal census of 1800. This charming volume is as good a picture as is possible to find of the United States just after Jefferson's great purchase. $6,500
[ Click here for images: title page; Louisiana ]

United States
Mathew Carey. Carey's General Atlas. Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1814. Folio. Original full leather, with label on spine; overall scuffing and label with wear, but intact. Ex-library. Complete with 58 engraved maps. Original outline hand color. Introductory pages, including table of content, are quite creased and with some tears. Map of the seven ranges mis-folded at bottom, but complete. Maps with some occasional stains, some manuscript writing on backs, but overall the maps are particularly bright and in very good condition. Phillips: 722; Rumsey: 4577.

Carey's atlases were quite successful, establishing his firm as the preeminent American cartographic business by the end of the eighteenth century. This is a nice example of the 1814 edition of his General Atlas, which is of particular interest as it was published during the War of 1812. Because of patriotism and a boycott of British goods, Americans wanted American-made publications, and both by necessity and inclination, Carey produced his atlas using American-surveyed and drawn maps with American-made copper plates, paper, ink and color. Carey was conscientious about keeping his maps and atlases up-to-date, making modifications and additions as warranted by the changing political and geographic situation, especially with reference to American topics. This atlas has 26 maps specifically of North America and its regions, and it is to this edition of the atlas that Carey added an updated map of the old Northwest Territory, as well as new maps of Ohio, the Mississippi Territory, Louisiana, and the Missouri Territory. It was also in this 1814 edition that Carey first added hand coloring to his maps, making this the first American atlas to include color. $22,500
[ Click here for images: title page; New Jersey ]

Finley American Atlas
Anthony Finley. American Atlas. Philadelphia: A. Finley, n.d., but 1827. Pocket issue of Finley's 1826 New American Atlas. Original red binding, 6" x 5" with fifteen maps on fourteen folding sheets, as per index pasted into inside front cover. Table of populations pasted to inside back cover. Maps crisp and bright in excellent condition, except a few stains on Missouri/Arkansas map and a few light stains on map of South America, which also has some creases at folds. 1830 owner's signature on index. Cover with some minor wear, short tear at fold and another at corner of tab; overall, very good and fully original.

A nearly pristine example of the very rare, pocket edition of Anthony Finley's important American Atlas. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Philadelphia was the leading American cartographic center of North and South America. With its sophisticated scientific community, and the large population of engravers, artists, publishers, and colorists, the vast majority of the best American maps and atlases were issued in the city. In the 1820s, Anthony Finley was one of the dominate Philadelphia cartographic publishers, producing a series of fine atlases that were good examples of the quality that American publishers were then able to obtain.

The atlas contains 13 maps of North America, a map of the West Indies (on the same sheet as Florida), and one of South America. The maps were drawn by D.H. Vance and engraved by J.H. Young and they are printed on thin but strong, banknote paper and folded into this "pocket" edition of an atlas which first appeared in 1826. The map of North America is dated 1827, indicating that it appeared the following year. The regional maps generally show three states each, and the detail contained in the maps is prodigious. Each county is indicated with a contrasting pastel shade, and towns, rivers, lakes, roads, and other topographical features are clearly and precisely depicted. Statistical tables accompany most of the maps. Finley was very concerned to depict as up-to-date information as was possible, and thus his maps present an accurate picture of the world in the early decades of the nineteenth century. $21,000
[ Click here for images: cover; title page; Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama ]

Conrad Malte-Brun A New General Atlas Exhibiting The Five Great Divisions of the globe. [from front label "…according to the Geography of M. Malte Brun."] Philadelphia: John Grigg, 1829. Quarto. Original three-quarters leather, with original paper label. Complete with 40 engraved maps. Full original hand color. Most maps with some slight spotting. Otherwise, crisp and attractive maps. Cf. Phillips: 751, 775; Rumsey: 287.

From 1827 to 1829, Philadelphia publisher Anthony Finley produced an American version of Conrad Malte-Brun's famous Universal Geography. Malte-Brun was a Danish geographer who produced a number of influential works which were copied and printed by numerous publishers in different countries. To illustrate the geography, in 1828 Finley added an atlas of 40 maps based on Malte-Brun, which was then reissued the following year by John Grigg. Many of the non-American maps are based on maps by British cartographer Aaron Arrowsmith, but the American maps are Finley's original work, engraved by J.H. Young. The map of the mid-west, "Western States & Territories," is interesting for its depiction of the Michigan Territory and "North West Territory Attached To Michigan." The map of Mexico is of note for its depiction of "Texas or New Estremaduia," for this map was issued near the beginning of the tensions between Austin's colonists and the Mexican government that would lead to the Texas revolution. $2,500
[ Click here for image; southern states ]

Family Cabinet Atlas. Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1832. First American edition. 12mo. Rebacked with full leather, using original boards. Complete with 50 engraved maps and charts. With occasional foxing, but generally crisp and clean interior. Phillips: 762; Rumsey: 3770

With the increased output of atlases in Europe in the early nineteenth century, new formats were tried, including smaller atlases intended to be useful and affordable to middle class families. In 1831, Thomas Starling issued his Family Cabinet Atlas in 12mo format, with 50 maps of all parts of the world. In Philadelphia a decade before, Mathew Carey's firm was taken over by Henry Charles Carey, Mathew's son, and Isaac Lea, his son-in-law. The year after Starling's atlas appeared, Carey & Lea issued their own edition of the Family Cabinet Atlas, which was "Revised, Corrected, and Enlarged." The maps were copied from the British atlas, but were re-engraved, and two new maps of the United States were added. There is a single map of the United States and those parts of Mexico presently part of the U.S., and two regional maps. Also included is a map of Mexico including today's Texas and the southwestern part of the U.S. Of further interest in the atlas is the inclusion of a table of place names and locations with each map. $1,000

Southern US
Family Cabinet Atlas. Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1832. First American edition. 12mo. Rebound with cloth boards and tape. Pages split from tight binding in places, and title page loose, but otherwise intact. Ex-library. Complete with 50 engraved maps and charts. Original hand color. With some occasional spots, but generally crisp and clean interior. Phillips: 762; Rumsey: 3770.

Another example of the atlas above. $900
[ Click here for images: title page; Great Britain ]

M. Malte-Brun. A System of Universal Geography or A Description of All The Parts Of the World... With Additions and Corrections by James G. Percival. Boston: Samuel Walker, 1834. Three volumes. Rebound in 1/4 leather. I: xx, 640 pp., 17 plates; II: xx, 680 pp., 28 plates; III: xv, 714 pp., 27 plates. Interior with some slight staining and browning, but overall very good.

A handsome set of Malte-Brun's Universal Geography, issued in Boston in 1834. The erudite text covers all aspects of the entire world and includes numerous tables of various sorts. Equally impressive is the extensive collection of over 70 engraved plates. Among these are maps of countries and continents and views of different parts of the globe, with a selection of 13 engravings of North American scenes. $750

Thomas G. Bradford. An Illustrated Atlas, Geographical Statistical, and Historical, of the United States, and the adjacent countries. Boston: Weeks, Jordon, & Co., 1838. First edition. Folio. Original three-quarters leather, rebacked with original spine; worn at edges and corners. Engraved and typeface title pages. Complete with 39 (numbered 40) engraved maps and town-plans with original hand color. Some usual offsetting, mostly to text. Interior, very good condition. Phillips Atlases: 11028; Rumsey: 89.

The commercial success of the Comprehensive Atlas inspired Bradford to try a larger format atlas, the Illustrated Atlas, which was first issued in 1838. Bradford did not just make a larger work, but produced a very fine quality atlas which was rivaled in America at the time only by Tanner's Universal Atlas (cf. below). The atlas includes detailed maps of 28 states, as well as plans of eight U.S. cities, including single page maps of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Like the earlier atlas, this one includes a most interesting map of Texas as a republic, based on Stephen Austin's 1835 rendering, and the map of North America also shows this political situation. The map of Iowa and Wisconsin shows a very early stage in the development of these states. The atlas is also noteworthy in containing extensive text for each map with information on the history, economy, and geography of the area depicted. One of the most impressive American atlases of the first half of the nineteenth century. $15,000
[ Click here for images: title page; Texas ]

Thomas T. Smiley, A.M., M.D.. Smiley's Atlas for the use of schools and families. A New Atlas, intended to illustrate the Encyclopedia of Geography. Philadelphia: Grigg & Elliot, 1839. Original boards. Quarto. Covers show normal wear. 15 maps on 12 plates. Description on inside page. Staining (including water damage) throughout the atlas. Not in Phillips. $450

Part 3
Sidney E. Morse & Samuel Breese. Part 3 of The Cerographic Atlas of the United States. New York: S.E. Morse, 1845. Folio. Original paper fascicle. Complete with twelve wax engraved maps; some interior foxing. minor edge wear, and back cover stained around edges. Phillips: 1383; Rumsey: 4180.

The third fascicle for Morse's Cerographic Atlas. It contains maps of Pennsylvania, Kentucky & Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa & Wisconsin, Texas, and Map of the Californias. These last two maps are particularly interesting. The copyright date on the map of Texas is 1844, the last year of its existence as a republic, and the map of the Californias, dated 1845, shows the region the year before the Mexican-American war, the result of which was its inclusion into the United States. The map of the Californias was by Thomas J. Farnham, author of Travels in the Californias, and Scenes in the Pacific Ocean, and to make this map Farnham claimed to have talked extensively with the trapper Ewing Young, as well as using a letter from Dr. John H. Lyman of Buffalo, N.Y., who had traveled on the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles. Of interest are the little church symbols indicating the twenty-one missions in Upper California. $900
[ Click here for images: California, Texas ]

Charles Preuss Maps of 1846. Denver: Nolie Mumey, 1952. Seven facsimile maps and text and portrait issued with original paper covers. Limited to 150 signed copies, of which this is number 59. Very good condition. Cf: Wheat Vol 3, p. 25f. Denver.

When J.C. Fremont was preparing to head out on the first of his seminal explorations of the American West, he need a good expedition artist and cartographer. For this he selected German immigrant Charles Preuss, with whom he became close friends. Preuss accompanied Fremont on his first expedition in 1842, and the second the following year. Missing Fremont's third expedition, Preuss again accompanied the Pathfinder on the fourth in 1848, but on this trip he suffered much from exposure during the winter in the mountains. Preuss wanted to join Fremont again, but his wife refused to allow him. Still ill and sinking into depression, Preuss hanged himself. His work, though, lived on, for he compiled a number of important maps based on his work with Fremont, including a seven sheet map showing the route from Westport, on the Missouri River, to the mouth of the Walla Walla River in Oregon. These oblong maps were based on "the field notes of Capt. J.C. Fremont and from sketches and notes made on the ground by his assistant, Charles Preuss," during the expeditions of 1842-43. They show, in incredible detail, the emigrant route to Oregon at the beginning of the great migration along the Oregon Trail. Each map shows about 250 miles of the route and they capture the seminal American trail as no other map does. Quite scarce, the set of seven were reproduced in full size, and limited to 150 signed copies, by Nolie Mumey in 1952. $75

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