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Antique Maps of North America
from the 19th Century

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[ 18th century maps of North America ]


Laurie & Whittle North America
"North America and West Indies with the latest Discoveries." London: Laurie & Whittle, Oct. 1, 1801. 7 3/4 x 9 1/4. Engraving. Full original hand color. Full margins. Very good condition.

An attractive map of North America issued in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Though Britain had lost its southern colonies in North America two decades before, there was still great curiosity about the United States as the nineteenth century dawned. This map, then, would likely have been studied closely by the British public when issued in 1801. There is detail of considerable interest, including indications of Indian tribes and settlements, frontier forts, and mines. This is a striking and fascinating document of the developing continent. $325

Mathew Carey. "A New and Accurate Map of North America from the best Authorities." Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1814. 13 3/8 x 14 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. Full margins. Very good condition.

An interesting American map of the North America. Published by Mathew Carey in 1814 during the War of 1812, this map is from Carey's Atlas which represented the best American cartographic work of the period. Carey, an Irish immigrant, established the first American specialized cartographic publishing firm. He set up an elaborate cottage system of craftsmen for engraving, printing, and coloring his maps utilizing the best independent artists directed to a common end. Carey is important, then, not only for the excellent maps he produced, but for his setting the pattern for American map publishing, to be followed by the likes of John Melish and Henry S. Tanner.

The map shows the best understanding of the continent prior to the explorations of Lewis & Clark. The map does show the lands of the Louisiana Purchase as belonging to the United States, with the northwestern most part named as "Quivira." The coastline, though, is quite accurate being based on the recent explorations of Vancouver and La Perouse. The river systems in the west are roughly and incorrectly shown, including the "Columbia or River of the West" extending so that it comes very close to some of the branches of the upper Mississippi. Some of the Indian tribes are noted, including Apacheria, Pimas and Yama. The nature of the Rocky Mountains is clearly not known, with the Canadian chain ending above the "River of the West" and there being only a small compact range near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers. An excellent map of the period. $450

John Cary. "North America." From Cary's New Universal Atlas. London: J. Cary, 1816. 9 x 11 1/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Some scattered spots in oceans. Else, very good condition.

A detailed map of North America by John Cary (ca. 1754-1835), the founder of the famous English cartographic firm. From about mid-way through the eighteenth century, British cartographers were the best in the world, and the maps produced by Cary are good examples of the quality they achieved. Cary was very concerned with the changing political situation in the world, so this map shows developments in North America to that date. Rivers, towns, political divisions, and topography are presented with crisp engravings, the hatchuring giving the map a three-dimensional appearance. The subtle hand coloring adds a decorative touch to this fine early nineteenth century historic document. $175

"North America." From Thomson's New General Atlas. Edinburgh: John Thomson, 1819. 19 1/2 x 23 1/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Foxing along center fold. Else, very good condition.

A very interesting map of the continent with an unusual rendering of the American West based on British sources, as well as-to some extent-the landmark exploration of Lewis & Clark. In the early 19th century, British fur traders explored the lands to the west of the Great Lakes and Hudson's Bay, mostly north of today's United States. This map contains quite good information of the lakes, rivers and some topography in this region.

It is in today's United States, that Thomson depicts a very strange geography. This is to a great extent based on a late 18th century map drawn by St. Louis surveyor, Antoine Soulard, for the Spanish government. Thomson's map shows Soulard's incorrect very large "Great Bend" in the upper Missouri River, but he adds several source rivers for the Missouri, including the Madison and Jefferson. A legend along the Missouri says the mapping is based on a sketch by Captain Lewis, though the rendering is nothing like the Lewis and Clark map which would be issued the same year this map came out. The Rocky Mountains are shown essentially as a single ridge, which loops to the west to allow for the headwaters of the Missouri, and which come within a very short distance of the Pacific Coast and the Sierra Nevada Range.

The lands south of the upper Missouri are essentially left blank, though the rivers and settlements of Spanish North America are shown. In the East, good information is given and throughout forts and many Indian tribes are noted. While quite inaccurate, this map by one of the leading British cartographers of the early nineteenth century shows the ignorance about the nature of the American trans-Mississippi West. The issue of the Lewis and Clark map would start the correction and filling in of this region, but Thomson's map nicely depicts the confusion then prevalent. $475

J. Finlayson. "North America." From Carey & Lea's Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas. Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1822. Map, 14 x 13 1/8; full sheet with text, 16 1/2 x 20 1/2. Engraving by J. Yeager. Full original color. Slight darkening at centerfold. Else, 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 et al. of the area depicted.

This map of North America is a very fine example from the atlas. It shows the entire continent at an interesting period in its political development, in particular for the United States. The map was issued just after the Missouri Compromise, so that state is indicated, as is the Arkansas Territory just to the south, extending from the Mississippi to the border with Mexico, which follows the line determined by the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. Of interest is that Finlayson shows the country as including the entire Missouri Territory extending as far north as where the "Russian Possessions" begin. This region was at the time under joint control by the British and Americans, with the final political settlement, with a border at the 49° parallel, not established until 1846. The text around the side of the map is quite interesting. $475

Finley North America
Anthony Finley. "North America." From A New General Atlas. Philadelphia: A. Finley, 1827. 11 3/8 x 8 3/4. Engraving by Young & Delleker. Original hand coloring. Stain lower right, some pencil notations. Else, good condition.

In the 1820s, Anthony Finley produced a series of fine atlases in the then leading American cartographic center, Philadelphia. Finley's work is a good example of the quality that American publishers were beginning to obtain in the early decades of the century. Finley was very concerned to depict as up-to-date information as was possible, and thus his map presents an accurate picture of North America in the 1820s. This map is elegantly presented, with crisp and clear engraving and very attractive pastel hand shading. Towns, rivers, and political divisions are indicated, and the bright color makes this map as attractive as it is informative. $75

Hilliard Gray North America
"North America." Boston: Hilliard, Gray & Co. ca. 1830. 11 x 8 7/8. Engraving by H. Moss. Original ahnd outline color. Scattered spots and pencil notations. Else, good condition. $55

Ewing North America
Thomas Ewing. "N. America." From Ewing's New General Atlas. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, ca. 1830. 7 1/8 x 8 5/8. Engraving by J. & G. Menzies. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A rare map from Thomas Ewing's New General Atlas. Ewing issued a number of editions of this fine quarto atlas in the first part of the nineteenth century, containing attractive maps of countries around the world. Published in Edinburgh, the maps were precisely engraved by J. & G. Menzies, who were noted engravers who worked for a number of publishers. The maps contain good detail and careful hatchuring to graphically represent topography. The hand coloring adds a nice flourish to these maps, which are good examples of British mapmaking at a time when it dominated the cartographic world. $65

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.

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.

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. $650

Carl Ferdinand Weiland. "Nord America entworfen und gezeichnet." Weimar: Geographischen Instituts, 1837. 22 3/4 x 19 3/4. Engraving. Original color. Small smudge in bottom margin. Else, very good condition.

A large, highly detailed German map of North America. Topography is emphasized by the precise and bold engraving, highlighting the complex ridges and valleys of the Rocky Mountains. Rivers are also shown with some detail; capital cities are noted; and towns are marked according to size (as explained in the key). A color key indicates how to interpret the international borders, with green for Russia lands, red for Danish, yellow for British, red for Danish, pink for the United States, orange for Mexican, green for Guatamalan, and blue for French territories. Since Weiland's 1820 map of North America, the Canadian-American border had become slightly more defined along the 49th parallel, though it still lacked the final delineation, which would be determined by Polk's controversial 1846 compromise with the British. In the lower left hand corner, an inset details the Aleutian Islands. An impressive document both cartographically and aesthetically. $700

Carl Flemming. "Nord America." Glogau, Germany: C. Flemming, 1848. 12 1/8 x 16 1/8. Lithograph by C. Flemming. Original outline color. Spot at upper left and at bottom margin edge. Overall, very good condition.

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. $425

S. Augustus Mitchell. "North America." From New Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1849. 15 5/8 x 12 5/8. Lithographic transfer from engraved plate. Full original color. Paper time toned, else very good condition.

A strong, nicely crafted map of North America from the mid-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. No roads are shown, but details of towns and topography is excellent. The political divisions in the continent are shown with contrasting pastel shades. With precise detail and hand coloring, an excellent example of mid-century American cartography. $175

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. Narrow margins at sides. Else, very good condition.

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 Polar bears, 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. $195

"North America." New York: J.H. Colton, 1856. 15 1/2 x 12 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

An attractive and historically interesting map of the continent by one of the leading American mapmakers of the mid-nineteenth century. The map shows from the British and Russian Possessions in the north (this map was issued about a decade before the purchase of Alaska), to the West Indies and Central America in the south. Of particular interest is the depiction of the United States with an interesting rendering of the western territories. Produced just a year after the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, these two territories are indicated, as are large territories for Washington, Oregon, Utah and New Mexico. $175

"Map of North America." Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1857. 15 1/2 x 13. Lithograph. Original hand color. Scattered foxing, especially in lower half. Else, very good condition. An fine, detailed map of North America showing the nation's political configuration just after the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854. The former act established California as a state and set up the Utah and New Mexico territories between the new state and the Rocky mountains. The latter act broke up the old Missouri Territory and Indian Territories to create the Kansas Territory, running from Missouri to the Utah Territory, and the Nebraska Territory from Kansas to the Canadian border. This particular map is from a rare atlas issued by Charles Desilver in 1856. This map was issued at the time the U.S. was focusing on building a trans-continental railroad and the map has text about this project along with indications of some of the proposed routes. A terrific cartographic picture of North America, about midway thorugh the 19th century. $175

W. Williams. "Map of North America. Showing its Political Divisions, and Recent Discoveries in the Polar Regions." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell Jr., 1860. 13 1/2 x 11. 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. Of particular note is the indication of different national control in Alaska, Greenland, and Canada, as well as information on Capt. McClure's explorations in the polar regions. $85

"Johnson's North America." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1863. 22 1/4 x 17 1/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Wear at center fold, into decorative border at left; scatterd spots and foxing. Else good condition.

A map of North America at an interesting period in its history. In the north, Alaska is still shown as "Russian Possessions" and what would, beginning in 1867, become Canada is still shown as "British America." In the south, Chiriqui and Veragua are shown as independent of Columbia, which at that time had control over Panama. In the United States, this map is interesting in showing the situation in the American West during the middle of the Civil War, including numerous new and proposed territories. The Arizona Territory is shown in its current position, although it includes the southern tip of what is now Nevada. Also of note, the Pony Express Mail Route is indicated crossing the continent. A nice map of the continent in the midst of the American Civil War. $90

"North America." New York: J.H. Colton, ca. 1865. 15 x 12 7/8. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

An attractive and historically interesting map of the continent by one of the leading American mapmakers of the mid-nineteenth century. The map shows from the British Possessions in the north and the accomplished purchase of Alaska, to the West Indies and Central America in the south. Of particular interest is the depiction of the United States with an interesting rendering of the western territories. $150

Mitchell North America 1871
W. Williams. "Map of North America. Showing its Political Divisions, and Recent Discoveries in the Polar Regions." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell Jr., 1872. 13 1/2 x 11. Lithograph. Original hand color. Decorative border. Smudge in bottom margin, not affecting image. Very good condition.

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, political borders are indicated, as are towns and cities and major topographical features. Overall, an attractive and accurate map of the nation at an important time in history. $95

L.E. Desbuissons. "Amérique Septentrionale." From Géographie Universelle. Paris: J. Migeon, 1874. 11 x 14 3/4 (neatlines) plus full margins. With inset "Chute du Niagara." Drawn by Frederic Legrip and engraved by Schoeder. Map engraved by L.A. Sengteller. Original hand color. Very good condition. Ref.: Lane, Impressions of Niagara, 427.

Louis Edouard Desbuissons (b. 1827) was a prolific mapmaker who worked in Paris for many decades in the Ministère des Affaires Etrangères. This map, emphasizing the railroads of North and Central America, was published by Migeon in his Géographie Universelle. The inset view of Niagara Falls is interesting for its depiction of palm trees in upstate New York as Europeans had inaccurately shown it a hundred years previously. Niagara was a popular tourist site, accessible by railroad from British America as well as the United States, thus the connection of this map and its lovely view. $150

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