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Antique Maps of Rhode Island

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Reid Rhode Island
Benjamin Tanner. "The State of Rhode Island, from the Latest Surveys. 1796." From The American Atlas. New York: John Reid, 1796. 17 x 13. Engraving by B. Tanner. Light stains in right corners. Otherwise, very good condition. Wheat & Brun: 254.

An important eighteenth-century, American made map of Rhode Island drawn and engraved by Benjamin Tanner. This map was issued in Reid's landmark American Atlas in 1796, which was published to accompany William Winterbotham's An historical, geographical, commercial, and philosophical view of the United States of America. This map is an excellent depiction of the current knowledge of the state in the late eighteenth century. This was typical of the maps from Reid's atlas, which was one of the very first American made atlases and one of only six maps of Rhode Island issued before 1800. The map shows the political divisions within the state, all the towns and cities, as well as mills, bridges, and roads throughout the state. The rivers and small lakes are indicated as well, and "Hopkin's Hill" is noted in the center of the state. This is one of the most desirable, and scarcest, of Rhode Island maps. $1,150

Mathew Carey. "Rhode Island." From American Pocket Atlas. Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1801. 7 1/2 x 5 3/4. Engraving by W. Barker. Some text off-setting. Otherwise, very good condition. Cf. Wheat &Brun: 253.

A fine map from Carey's American Pocket Atlas of 1801. This is the second state of one of the very early American maps of Rhode Island; the first state was issued by Mathew Carey in 1796. Unlike many other cartographers of the day, Carey updated his maps in subsequent versions, and this 1801 example from the Pocket Atlas is a good example of this. In 1796 either Carey did not have information on the roads, or he thought it not important. However, by 1801, this had changed and Carey added clear delineations of wagon roads in the state. $250

Samuel Lewis. "Rhode Island." From A New and Elegant General Atlas by Aaron Arrowsmith and Samuel Lewis. Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Petersburg and Norfolk, 1804. 9 3/4 x 8. Engraving by Lawson. Minor spotting throughout. Otherwise, very good condition.

The maps from this atlas were the work of Aaron Arrowsmith, one of the foremost cartographers of his era, and Samuel Lewis, one of the leaders in the nascent American cartographic field. This map of Rhode Island is a fine example of Lewis' output. Detail of the settlement in the state, along with topographical information is neatly portrayed. Roads and counties are also shown. A fine example of some of the best American cartography of the period. $250

Fielding Lucas Jr. "Rhode Island." Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea., 1822. 11 1/4 x 8 1/2 (map); 16 5/8 x 20 1/4 (full sheet) Engraving by J[oseph] Yeager. Original hand color. Very good condition..

In 1822, Henry Charles Carey and Isaac Lea published their A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas. This volume was based on Emmanuel Las Cases' Atlas Historique of 1803, with updated maps and text modified by Carey, a political economist. He considered himself an American foil to John Stuart Mill and the London economists who were proclaimers of "the gloomy science" influenced by Ricardo and Malthus. Instead of preaching overpopulation and degeneration of the human species, Carey illustrated the nations of the western hemisphere through maps that showed an expanding region with ample promise of developing into lands of great new opportunity and growth. The sheets from this atlas, which cover North America, Central America, South America and the West Indies, are comprised of an engraved map surrounded by text documenting the history, climate, population and so forth of the area depicted. The atlas is particularly known for its excellent early maps of the states and territories of the United States. This map of Rhode Island is typical of his maps. It shows the extensive road system in the state and includes a list of Governors up to James Fenner, elected in 1824. Overall, a fine verbal and graphic picture of this state with all of Block Island delineated. $450

Bradford Rhode Island
Thomas G. Bradford. "Rhode Island." From Illustrated Atlas. Boston: T.G. Bradford, 1838. 14 1/4 x 11 3/8. Engraving by G.W. Boynton. Very good condition.

A precisely engraved map by Thomas G. Bradford, a Boston map publisher. This map was first issued in the 1838 edition of Bradford's atlas, and is up-to-date in showing the political and topographical situation with very good accuracy. Detail includes rivers, lakes, towns, and counties. Also shown is an early railroad running from Stonington, Connecticut, to Providence, and from there towards Boston. Block Island is nicely depicted at the bottom of the map. The whole is attractively presented and is a rare and early map of Rhode Island. $375

H.S. Tanner. "Massachusetts and Rhode Island." From Tanner's Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, [1841]-43. 10 3/4 x 14. Engraving by J. & W.W. Warr. Full original hand color. Very good condition.

A strong and beautifully crafted map of Massachusetts and Rhode Island from the nineteenth century by the great American cartographer, Henry Schenck Tanner. In 1816, Henry, his brother Benjamin, John Vallance and Francis Kearny formed an engraving firm in Philadelphia. Having had experience at map engraving through his work with John Melish, Tanner conceived of the idea of compiling and publishing an American Atlas, which was begun in 1819 by Tanner, Vallance, Kearny & Co.. Soon Tanner took over the project on his own, and thus began his career as cartographic publisher. The American Atlas was a huge success, and this inspired Tanner to produce his Universal Atlas, of more manageable size. This atlas contained excellent maps of each state, focusing on the transportation network, including roads, railroads and canals. All details are clearly presented, and these include towns, rivers, mountains, political boundaries and the transportation information. In 1844, Carey & Hart issued an edition of the atlas, and the maps were later purchased by S. Augustus Mitchell, and then Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.. Maps from the early Tanner/Carey & Hart edition are quite rare and desirable. This map of the two states is typical of the Tanner maps. It shows excellent information, especially of the transportation network. An inset in the lower left gives a detailed plan of Boston. $325

"Map of Massachusetts and Rhode Island." Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1857. 11 1/2 x 15 1/4. Lithograph. Full, original hand color. Very good condition. With inset of "Boston."

Charles Desilver, one of the many publishers working in Philadelphia during the mid-nineteenth century, issued an atlas of maps based on the famous Tanner-Mitchell-Cowperthwait series. Desilver used much the same information as originally drawn in the 1840s, but updated the maps with new counties, roads, towns, and especially the transportation network of roads and railroads, always the focus of the maps from this series. This map is typical of the rather unusual and scarce Desilver atlas. In the lower left is a detailed inset map of Boston, with major buildings indicated and named. An attractive and fascinating document from just before the Civil War. $165

"County Map of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1872. 11 1/2 x 13 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Decorative border. Very good condition.

S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., of Philadelphia, was one of the largest map publishers of the middle of the nineteenth century. The firm was founded by his father, who from around the middle of the nineteenth century issued atlases and maps of all parts of the world in all formats. The Mitchell atlases contained up-to-date maps which were as attractive as they were accurate. With its bold hand-color, decorative borders, and interesting information from this interesting period of American history, this is a fine example of the Mitchell firm's output. $125


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