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Antique Maps of North America
from the 19th Century

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[ 18th century maps of North America ]


Cummings North America ca. 1820
"North America." From Cummings' Ancient & Modern Geography. 10 3/4 x 8 1/8. Boston: Cummings & Hilliard, ca. 1820. Engraving by M. Butler. Original outline color. Some smudges and chips, otherwise good condition. Denver.

A map of North America in the early decades of the 19th century. This map, made by the Boston mapmaking firm of Cummings & Hilliard, shows the political divisions of the time as well as what was known of the continent's geography. Much of this map bears a striking resemblance to the Aaron Arrowsmith map of North America that Lewis and Clark used on their expedition in the early 1800's, and was likely based on it. Among these influences is the depiction of the Rocky Mountains as a single ridge of jagged peaks cutting through an otherwise sparse trans-Mississippi West. Also of note are the indication of rivers in the Pacific Northwest, which suggest a possible connection between the Pacific Ocean and the Missouri River. Indicative of the time, this map also shows speculative placement of various (non-existent) lakes and Indian villages along the Rocky Mountains. This map nicely illustrates the confusion among Americans, and mapmakers, as to what they had actually acquired in the Louisiana Purchase a mere decade earlier. This map sets the stage for the vigorous westward expansion, the United States was about to undergo, when the blank spaces on the map would be claimed, settled and "civilized". A lovely map of the continent at a fascinating time in history. $75

Sidney Hall. "North America." London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown &Green, 1829. 20 x 16 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. Stain in left hand corners. Slight repaired tears on fold Overall, very good condition. Denver.

An interesting British map of North America which takes a decidedly pro-American stance on a border controversy between the two countries. The map is very detailed, with much information on mountains, rivers, cities and, interestingly, locations of Indian tribes. It does not show internal borders, but it does indicate major national borders, with the continent divided between Mexico, the United States, British Territory, and Russian Territory (in today's Alaska). Two large territories are shown, however, in the trans-Mississippi West, the Missouri Territory and the "Western Territory." The latter shows what the American called "Oregon Territory" as lying within the borders of the United States, even up to the 54°40' latitude line. This was the border claimed by the Americans, while the British argued that it should be British Territory as far south as 42° line. Why this British map took the American side is not clear, but the border was not actually agreed to-at the 49° parallel-until 1846. This map was issued in 1829, several decades before the trans-Mississippi West was accurately mapped and it thus shows many of the errors of the time. This includes the Rocky Mountains are as a single, fairly simple ridge, with no mountains lying between the continental divide and the Pacific Ocean. Thus a number of rivers are shown flowing from the lakes of the Great Basin all the way to the Pacific Ocean-the famous "rivers of the west." An unusual and interesting example of British mapping of North America. $325

North America
David H. Burr. "North America." From A New Universal Atlas. New York: Illman & Pilbrow, 1834. 12 1/2 x 10 1/2. Engraving by Illman & Pilbrow. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

An excellent map of North America by David H. Burr, one of the most important American cartographers of the first part of the nineteenth century. Having studied under Simeon DeWitt, Burr produced the second state atlas issued in the United States, of New York in 1829. He was then appointed to be geographer for the U.S. Post Office and later geographer to the House of Representatives. Here Burr shows the continent with its major political divisions. The United States is shown after the Louisiana Purchase and before it annexed Texas. At this time the Oregon Territory was jointly administered by Britain and the United States, but Burr shows it as belonging to the U.S. and extending as far north as 54°40', north or which are "Russian Possessions." Burr's maps are scarce and quite desirable and this is no exception. $250

Bradford North America 1835
"North America." From A Comprehensive Atlas. Geographical, Historical & Commercial. Thomas G. Bradford. Boston, 1835. 7 3/4 x 10 1/8. Engraving. Original outline color. Very good condition. Denver.

A small map published in Boston in 1835 showing North America in the first half of the nineteenth century. Information shown includes rivers, towns, counties and roads, both existing and proposed. Of particular note are the United States' borders with Canada and Mexico. This map shows the US claiming the Oregon Territory well into modern Canada, as well as showing the pre-Mexican-American War border with Mexico. In addition, this map also incorrectly shows two Salt Lakes, the southern of which has a river draining into the Pacific. An attractive map of an interesting period in the history of the United States. $95

Tanner North America
Henry S. Tanner. "North America." From H.S. Tanner's New Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: H.S. Tanner, 1836. 14 1/2 x 11 3/4. Engraving. Full original hand color. Excellent condition. Denver.

An excellent map of North America 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 all parts of the world. This map of North America is a fine example of the maps from this atlas. Detail is impressive throughout, including rivers, lakes, major settlements, topography (as best then known), and the locations of Indian Tribes. Tanner shows the United States as it existed prior to the Mexican War, with the exception of showing the chauvinistic American concept that the entire Oregon County, extending as far north as the 54'40° line, belonged to the United States. At the time the official agreement with Great Britain was that the Oregon Country was jointly administered, but with the flood of immigrants into Oregon beginning in the 30s, Americans agitated for the United States taking the entire region over. Tanner shows a relatively correct understanding of the western mountain ranges, including the fact that no river flowed from the Great Basin (which he labeled "Sandy Plain" to the Pacific Ocean. A fine example of the best of American cartography of the period. $275

A.H. Dufour. "Amérique du Nord." Paris: J. Andriveau-Goujon, 1838. Separately issued map, dissected into 18 sections and mounted on linen for folding. 36 x 24 3/4. Engraving. Original outline color. Excellent condition. With paper slip cover. Denver.

A finely produced map of North America by Adolph Hippolyte Dufour. Detail includes much topography, with a graphic depiction of mountains and many rivers. This is based on an 1834 map by Brué, that included the latest information available, including Lewis & Clark and other early reports. Of note is the double depiction of the Great Salt Lake. Also shown are myriad settlements and political borders. Of particular interest is the depiction of Texas as an independent republic. Dufour leaves blank the then controversial border in the Oregon Territory between Canada and the United States. In the trans-Mississippi west are several Indian districts. This is one of the better pre-Frémont maps of the continent. $1,750

"Map of North America." From Smith's Geography for Schools. Hartford: Daniel Burgess, 1839. 10 1/4 x 8 1/4. Engraving by Stiles, Sherman & Smith. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

An excellent map of the continent at a fascinating period of its history, "designed to accompany Smith's Geography for Schools." The most prominent feature is the clearly delineated image of Texas as an independent republic. Earlier in the century the Mexican government had encouraged settlement by Americans in the northeastern part of Mexico, reasoning that a settled and prosperous region, even one populated by Anglo-Americans, was better than a barren region. Not surprisingly tensions between the Mexican government and the American colonists in Texas began to escalate in the 1830s, leading to an outbreak of fighting in late 1835 after Santa Anna overthrew the Mexican constitution and set up a dictatorship. By the spring of 1836 the Texans had defeated Santa Anna and set up an independent republic of Texas. It remained thus until admitted to the Union in 1845. Texas is shown with good detail, its capital in Austin, and it extends as far north as today's Colorado, just north of Pike's Peak (here called "James Peak).

The map is also interesting in showing the extensive claims the United States had made in the northwest, with the country's borders extending as far north as the 54°40'. The border in the "Oregon Country" was not settled until 1846. Throughout the map, rivers, lakes, and mountains are indicated, and good information shows the location of Indian tribes. In what is today the American southwest, a large "Great Sandy Plains" is indicated to the southwest of "Salt L." Unlike many maps of the period, this map does show the Sierra Nevada Mountains running between the great basin and the coast, cutting off any of the long imagined "rivers of the west." As this map was intended to enlighten a student in 1839 about the situation in North America, it does the same for us today, but as seen through the eyes of those who lived at the time. $350

SDUK North America
"North America." London: SDUK & Baldwin & Gradock, 1843. 15 18 x 12. Engraving. Original outline color. Very good condition.

A detailed and cleanly drawn map of North America, showing Texas as an independent nation, issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). This wonderful English enterprise was devoted to the spreading of up-to-date information and the enhancing of understanding. This map of the North American continent shows the United States extending to the Pacific coastline, with the border with Canada in the northwest left off because of the border dispute current at the time the map was issued. Of particular interest is Texas shown independent, just before it was annexed by the United States in 1844. An excellent example of the work of the SDUK. $275

Carl Flemming. "Nord America." Glogau, Germany: C. Flemming, 1844. 12 1/8 x 16. Lithograph by C. Flemming. Original outline color. Two light spots at bottom and light stains at edge. Overall, very good condition. Denver.

Carl Flemming was the founder of an important German firm located in Berlin and Glogau and this map shows characteristic German detail. The focus of the map is on the topography and political situation in the continent. The Rocky Mountain chain is graphically, and somewhat confusedly, depicted, showing the Great Basin in the American southwest with no interior information. Of note is the depiction of Texas as an independent republic, a heart-shaped entity shown between the U.S. and Mexico. In the northwest the border to the Oregon Territory is depicted from the American viewpoint, extending well into present-day Canada. $525

America Septentrionale
Victor Levasseur. "Amerique Septentrionale." Paris: A. Combette, 1847. 11 1/4 x 17. Engraving by Laguillermie. Original outline coloring. Full margins. Very good condition. Denver.

One of the most decorative maps of North America. The cartographic depiction of the continent is set into a dramatic and colorful illustration of the terrain, peoples, flora, fauna and produce of the Nouveau Continent. Drawn by painter Raimond Bonheur, the border of the map is a collage of impressions of the 'wonders' of North America, illustrating the fabulous image it still projected into the minds of mid-nineteenth century Europeans. The geographical information of the map is also of interest. The United States is shown extending to the Pacific Ocean, including the disputed area north of what was to become Washington State that was established as part of Canada by the treaty of 1846. And though Texas had been annexed by the United States in 1845, it is here shown as it appeared when an independent nation. $450

Johnston North America
A.K. Johnston. "North America." Edinburgh: W. & A.K. Johnston, ca. 1848. 24 x 19 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. Very good condition. Denver.

An interesting map of the continent with erroneous borders reflecting the changing and confused changes around 1846-48. Texas is shown as part of the United States, as is "Upper or New California," though the map also shows the Mexican-American border from before the war. The map includes a note below the title stating that the lands west of the Rockies between the Russian and Mexican lands is claimed by both Great Britain and the U.S., though a border is drawn separating the British north from the American south. This is not, however, the line that was agreed to in 1846, for this Scottish mapmaker shows the British lands extending down to the Columbia River! Topographical detail is extensive and clear. While Americans themselves were certainly unsure of how things stood at this time, even more so the cartographer in Edinburgh! $275

Flemming US 1850 ca.
"Vereinigte Staaten Von Nord-America." Glogau, Germany: C. Flemming, ca. 1850. 12 x 16 1/8. Lithograph by C. Flemming. Original outline color. Very good condition. Denver.

Carl Flemming ran an important German publishing house in Glogau and Berlin in the middle of the nineteenth century, issuing atlases and maps like this one. The Germans were very interested in America at this period, with large numbers having emigrated to Texas in the 1840s, and more taking advantage of the opportunities of land and employment by coming to the mid-west and into the west. This map includes great detail of rivers, towns, railroads and canals, all presented with typical German precision and clarity.

This map is an updated version of an earlier version in which Flemming listed, in the numbered key in the lower left, thirty-three states and territories. This map was updated to show the results of the Compromise of 1850, with new borders drawn in, though the numbering system on the map is left over from the earlier version. On this map, Texas is shown with its post-1850 borders, while "Ober-Californien is now divided into California, Utah and New Mexico (none so named on the map).

Other aspects of the map are of interest as well. The Missouri Territory is shown bordered by a large Indian Territory to the south. The mountain systems of the west are a hodge-podge of worm-like lines, some of which may even match reality. The Great Basin is identified and the river systems are quite detailed and seem more reliable than the mountains. Indian tribes are named throughout. An unusual feature of interest is the "Grosse National Strasse" (Great National Road) that is shown running from Washington D.C. to St. Louis. $375

Rapkin North America 1851
J. Rapkin. "North America." From The Illustrated Atlas. 13 x 9 1/2. London: John Tallis & Co., ca. 1851. Map drawn and engraved by J. Rapkin. Illustrations drawn by J. Marchant and engraved by J. Rogers. Original outline color. Excellent condition. Denver.

Beginning in 1851, John Tallis & Co. issued its Illustrated Atlas, which contained maps of all parts of the world. These detailed maps are particularly known for their decorative borders and the small, finely engraved vignettes of local scenes. This map of North America is no exception, containing several charming vignettes showing scenes of the region. Among the illustrations are a scene of Eskimos with dog sleds, the Falls of Niagara, an ancient monument in Mexico, and North American Indians. Besides these decorative features, the map contains a plethora of details on the rivers, topography, towns, coastline, and political divisions of the area. Though probably issued around 1851, this map does not indicate the American acquisition of the state of Upper California from Mexico as a result of the Mexican-American war. All in all, a very decorative and informative map of North America. $250

Lippincott North America 1860
"North America." 12 x 10. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1860. Lithography. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A bright, attractive map of North America from the mid-nineteenth century. Published by one of the leading U.S. cartographic firms of the period, this is a good example of American mapping at an important time in history. The continent is divided up politically by country and the amount of detail is quite impressive. Besides rivers, lakes, and mountains, political borders are indicated, as are towns and cities. Of particular note on this map are the delightful vignettes of the various fauna that inhabit the continent, as well as sketches of ships and Native Americans. Another interesting feature is the geographic cross section near the bottom of the map, that seeks to show the various plains and mountains of the continent graphically from coast to coast. Overall, a charming and colorful map of the continent at an important time in history. $75

A Sequence of maps of North America during the Civil War

A series of maps of North America, issued by one of the major American publishers out of New York. The sequence began with Johnson & Browning's 1860 "Johnson's North America" and continued to the end of the Civil War in 1865. In 1860, the Western region of the continent was just opening up, partly as a result of the great gold rushes of California (1849) and Colorado (1859) and the silver rush in Nevada (1859), but also the building of the trans-continental railroad, which sought to link the two coasts of the United States. This series of maps nicely shows the political developments on the Great Plains during the Civil War.

The Civil War brought significant political changes to the western Territories. Before the Civil War, the creation of new territories and states was a politically tense proposition, as the North and South argued bitterly over whether or not slavery would be allowed in the new states and territories. Equally important, the South, with its smaller population, sought to preserve its power in the Senate by making sure every new Free State was admitted with a corresponding new Slave state. However, when the South seceded and their Representatives and Senators left Congress, the North could divvy up the vast Trans-Mississippi west as they saw fit. This resulted in a spree of new territories, borders and states, which left us a very interesting set of maps as well.

The war also represented the beginning of a new era which would see the west shift from a sparsely populated collection of poorly organized territories crossed by Pony Express, explorer and emigrant trails to a rapidly settled and well-organized land of mining towns and farms, crisscrossed by railroads. Each new edition shows changes in borders, territories, towns, roads, railroads, Indian tribe locations, and much else.

Special offer: Purchase any two maps from the sequence of maps below and receive a 10% discount!


Kiepert Nord America 1868
Heinrich Kiepert. "Nord America mit Westindien." Weimar: Geographischen Instituts, 1868. 23 1/8 x 20 1/8. Lithograph. Original color. Slight tear along center fold and a few small tears in the right margin; all repaired. Otherwise, very good condition. Denver.

A lovely map of North America by German cartographer Heinrich Kiepert. Kiepert is known for the amount and precision of his detail, and this map is a good example of his output. The clarity is impressive and Kiepert gives credit to the engravers of the topography (D. Wibel and C. Poppey). The map was issued during an immense period of growth and expansion for the United States which this map reflects. A large part of this growth was driven by massive immigration from Europe. This map would have been issued for the German market, and it appealed to the European interest in America as well as providing many an immigrant with a first look at his or her new country. A color key is used to identify the nationality of political entities, including the islands of the West Indies. $225

Mitchell North America 1871
"III Map of North America." 10 7/8 x 8 3/8. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell Jr., 1871. Lithograph transfer from engraved plate. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A strong, well-crafted map of North America from the latter half of the nineteenth century. Published by one of the leading U.S. cartographic firms of the period, this is an excellent example of American mapping at an important time in the development of the area. The region is divided up politically by country and topographical detail is quite impressive. Besides rivers, lakes, and mountains, internal political borders are indicated, as are towns and cities and major topographical features. Of particular note on this map is the indication of the "Gold Regions" one near Pike's Peak in Colorado, another in California, another in British Columbia and the final one in Idaho. The "Gold Region" in Idaho was relatively new at the time of this map's production, and represented the desire of mapmakers to be as up to date as possible. Overall, an attractive and accurate map of the nation at an important time in history. $60

Gilpin North America
William Gilpin. "Map of North American delineating the Mountain System and its Details, The Great Calcareous Plain as a Unit, and the continuous encircling Maritime Selvage." From Mission of the American People. Philadelphia, 1873. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A unique map of North America by William Gilpin, created to promote the notion of the economic development of the central part of the United States. William Gilpin (1815-1894) had an early career with the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars in the Southeast and then in Missouri and to the west. Independence, Missouri, was once Gilpintown when he lived there. Politically associated with Sen. Thomas Hart Benton and John C. Fremont he changed from a western Democrat to a Republican in 1856. When Colorado became a territory in 1861, Lincoln made him the first governor. Subsequent land speculation in Colorado and New Mexico made him a wealthy man, and his writings such as Mission of the American People, for which this map was designed, made him a prominent proponent of Manifest Destiny.

He believed first that it was the temperate climes of the world which were the central location of future economic development, and he say the United States as uniquely situated along that band to take advantages of trade with both East and West. He firmly believed in America's placement at the core of future greatness. The center point of this potential development, graphically shown on this map with concentric circles, was centered on the area around Topeka Kansas. Gilpin believed that a trans-continental railroad though this area would benefit Americans as no others, especially those in the great plains. Gilpin was one of the first to realize the potential of this region. $325

Mignon North America
Desbuissons Geographe. "Amerique Septentrionale." From Geographie Universelle Atlas-Migeon. Paris: J. Migeon, 1881. 10 3/4 x 14 3/4. Engraving by Sengteller. Lettering by Isid. Dalmont. Original hand color. Excellent condition.

A crisp map of North America from J. Migeon's Geographie Universelle. The map was drawn by Desbuisson and reviewed by Vuillemin, a geographer who was a member of the Societe de Geographie de Paris and is thus quite accurate and up-to-date. All of North and Central America are shown, each nation colored with a contrasting shade. The focus of this map is on the railroads and it thus presents a fascinating picture of this important transportation network, especially in the United States. The appearance of the map is enhanced by the fine engraving and hand coloring, and finished off with a lovely vignette of Niagara Falls in the lower left. $250

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