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Antique Maps of Illinois

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Mitchell Sr: Ohio, Indiana & Illinois
S.A. Mitchell. "Map of the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois with the settled parts of Michigan." Includes southern part of Wisconsin plus four added insets. Philadelphia, 1836. Copyright 1834. Engraving by J. H. Young (hand colored). Full decorated margins. 17 1/2 x 22 (sheet). Folding map on bank note paper. One expertly repaired hole at the intersection of two folds, near Peoria, IL.

A dramatic map illustrating the growth of the American Midwest as development was burgeoning. Detailed insets include vicinities of Detroit, Cincinnati, Louisville ["Falls of Ohio"], and "Lead Region East of the Mississippi River." The map accounts for roads, railroads and steamboat routes. Here is a product of the best mapmakers of their times in America. A very beautiful and important cartographic achievement as the United States developed in the 1830s at an astonishing rate. $850

Thomas G. Bradford. "Illinois." From Samuel G. Goodrich's A General Atlas of the World. Boston: C.D. Strong, 1841. 14 1/4 x 11 3/8. Engraving by G.W. Boynton. Original hand color. Some minor spots in margins. Very good condition.

An attractive and early map of Illinois by Thomas Bradford. This map was first issued in the 1838 edition of Bradford's atlas, but this example appeared in Samuel Goodrich's atlas from 1841. The map shows the social, political and transportation situation in the state at the time. This map was issued fairly soon after the end on the Black Hawk War, when the Native Americans were essentially driven across the Mississippi and Euro-Americans poured into the fertile lands of the state. This was a period of great growth, with the matching development of transportation throughout, nicely shown on this map. Roads are indicated as is a nascent, yet burgeoning railroad network. Counties are named and indicated in contrasting shades, and rivers, lakes, and towns are precisely depicted. A nice picture of Illinois near the middle of the nineteenth century. $325

Henry S. Tanner. "A New Map of Illinois with its Proposed Canals, Roads & Distances from place to place along the Stage & Steam Boat Routes." From Tanner's Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: H.S. Tanner, 1846. 13 1/4 x 10 1/2. Engraving. Full original hand coloring. Full margins. Time toned at margin edges. Else, very good condition.

A crisp, detailed map of Illinois 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. The maps were later purchased by S. Augustus Mitchell, and then Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. $250

"Illinois." New York: J.H. Colton, 1855. 15 1/2 x 12 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very faint foxing in margins; else, very good condition. With inset: "Vicinity of Chicago."

In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. This map of Connecticut with its fine detail, is a strong example of their successful work. Both New York City and Long Island are shown along with a portion of Rhode Island. Not only is it informative, with it's depictions of towns, roads and railroads but it is also decorative. The counties are depicted in subtle pastel shades and the entire map is surrounded by a decorative Victorian border. $165

Desilver: Illinois
"A New Map of the State of Illinois." Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1856. 15 3/4 x 13 1/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. With decorative border.

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 canals, roads and railroads, always the focus of the maps from this series. This map is typical of the rather unusual and scarce Desilver atlas. The growth of roads and railroads in the southern part of the state is impressive and indicative of the huge growth in the region during the middle part of the century. An attractive and fascinating Illinois document. $165

"County Map of the State of Illinois." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1861. 13 1/2 x 10 3/4. Lthograph. Original hand-color. With inset plan of Chicago.

Taking over for his father, S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. continued one of the leading map publishing firms of the nineteenth century. His maps were standards in the industry and continue to be valued today for their depth of information and their clarity of presentation. This is a fine map of Illinois, highlighting its major city, Chicago, about a decade before its most infamous fire. $150

"Map of the State of Illinois." Washington: GLO, 1866. 22 x 14 3/4. Lithograph by Bowen & Co. Original outline color. Very good condition.

The U.S. General Land Office (GLO) was established in 1812 with responsibility to survey and control the dispersal of public lands. All public land was required to be surveyed prior to settlement, and the first director of the GLO, Thomas Hutchins, set up a systematic process of rectangular survey for the public lands and launched the great national project to survey and map the public domain in the entire country, a procedure which got under way in the famous "seven ranges" of southeast Ohio. Each surveyor was to record not only geography, but also features of the landscape with economic import, such as roads, Indian trails, existing settlements, Indian lands, mineral deposits, and of particular interest, railroads and their rights of way. Of note is that unlike most surveys of the time, the surveyors were instructed not to apply new names to the landscape, but to use "the received names of all rivers, creeks, lakes, swamps, prairies, hills, mountains and other natural objects." Periodically the GLO would issue maps showing the progress of their surveys, and this map shows how Illinois was well covered by 1866. Interesting features are the many railroads in the state, as well as in lead and copper mines indicated in the northwest. $275

"Colton's Illinois." New York: G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co., 1866. 12 3/4 x 15 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. With inset: "Vicinity of Chicago." $160

Mitchell Chicago
"Chicago." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1875. 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. In this map, Chicago is detailed between Fullerton Avenue at the north, Thirty-first Street at the South, and Western Avenue at the west. 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. $250

 Gray map of Chicago
"Chicago." Philadelphia: O.W. Gray, 1876. 14 7/8 x 12. Lithograph. Original color. Very good condition.

A nicely detailed map of Chicago just a few years after the great fire. The map was issued by the Philadelphia firm of O.W. Gray, which began its publishing around mid-century and published regional and U.S. atlases up to the 1880s. This map shows streets, rivers, and canals in the city, each clearly labeled. Also of considerable interest are the indications of the several railroads coming into the city and providing Chicago with its life blood of commerce. $250

Arbuckle Illinois
"Illinois." New York: Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company, 1889. Ca. 3 x 5. Chromolithograph by Donaldson Brothers. Very good condition.

From a delightful series of maps issued by the Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company. This firm was founded by John and Charles Arbuckle of Pittsburgh, PA. They developed a machine to weigh, fill, seal and label coffee in paper packages, which allowed them to become the largest importer and seller of coffee in the world. Their most famous promotional program involved the issuing of several series of small, colorful trading cards, one of which was included in every package of Arbuckle's Coffee. These series included cards with sports, food, historic scenes, and--one of the most popular--maps. The latter cards included not only a map, but also small illustrations "which portrays the peculiarities of the industry, scenery, etc." of the region depicted. These cards are a delight, containing informative maps as well as wonderful scenes of the area mapped. $60


1673. Marquette and Jolliet descend the Mississippi, return to Wisconsin via Illinois River and Lake Michigan.
1763. Illinois is in area ceded by French to British after French and Indian War.
1778. George Rogers Clark captures Kaskaskia and Cahokia from British. Virginia claims Illinois; cedes land to United States in 1784.
1800. Indiana Territory created; includes Illinois.
1809. Illinois Territory created; capital, Kaskaskia.
1818. Illinois becomes 21st state, December 3; capital, Kaskaskia; governor, Shadrach Bond. Illinois's northern border fixed at 42° 30' N latitude.
1820. State capital moved to Vandalia.
1833. Chicago incorporated; becomes a city in 1837.
1837. Springfield chosen state capital; legislature meets there in 1839. Abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy killed by proslavery mob.
1839. Mormons found Nauvoo; leaders, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, killed in 1844; Mormons leave for Utah in 1846.
1848. Illinois and Michigan Canal opened.
1851. Illinois Central Railroad chartered.
1871. Great Chicago Fire burns heart of city.
1893. World's Columbian Exposition held at Chicago.


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