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Antique Maps of the United States

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Gussefeld US
Franz Ludwig Güssefeld. "Charte Aber die XIII vereinigte Staaten von Nord-America." Nuremberg: Homann Heirs, 1784. 17 1/2 x 22 1/2. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

This is an early example of a map that recognized the nascent United States of America. The map shows North America to just across the Mississippi River, but the focus is on the new nation. Each state is colored in a contrasting pastel and the states in the northern part are named by way of a lettered key given just below the attractive title cartouche. The borders are in general pretty good, though Vermont is not shown, being included as part of New Hampshire, and Maryland's western parts extend well south into Virginia. The treatment of the lands to the west of the Appalachian Mountains and up to the Mississippi River is quite interesting. This area is indicated as lands that came to the United States by the Treaty of 1783. It is mostly undifferentiated politically, though dotted lines coming off of the states of the southeast do extend to the Mississippi, showing the claims of those states. Rivers, towns, and some forts are shown, and Indian tribes are named throughout. One odd feature is the appearance of a very large area of marshy land along the Wabash. All in all, this attractive map is a fascinating view of the new nation. $1,400

John Russell. "An Accurate Map of the United States of America according to the Treaty of Paris of 1783" From William Winterbotham's View of the United States. London: H.D. Symonds, 1794. 14 1/8 x 18. Engraving. With folds as issued. Minor blemish near cartouche; else very good condition.

An detailed map of the new United States prior to its boundaries extending beyond the Mississippi River. It was issued in Winterbotham's important account of the new country. Detail is quite impressive with rivers, lakes, and settlements clearly depicted throughout. The information on the western parts of the country is of particular interest. Various land claim companies formed for Revolutionary War veterans are shown in the west along with indications of Indian tribal lands. Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are not yet shown as states. The river systems are given prominence due to their importance as the major transportation routes. A fascinating map of the United States as it appeared at the time the U.S. Constitution was being written. $775

Mathew Carey after Abraham Bradley. "The United States of America." From American Pocket Atlas. Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1801. 9 3/4 x 12 5/8. Engraving by W. Barker. Cf. Wheat & Brun: 131.

An excellent map of the United States from Carey's American Pocket Atlas of 1801. Unlike many other cartographers of the day, Carey updated his maps in every edition of his atlases, which made his maps as up-to-date as any issued at the time. The maps from the Pocket Atlas are good examples. This map shows what was then Georgia, stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi, including most of present-day Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. The short lived Mississippi Territory is depicted wedged between Georgia and western Florida. In the Northwest Territory the "Grand Portage" and Bellin's mythical islands are shown at Lake Superior. Information is excellent, showing towns, rivers, and some physical characteristics with a number of names added since the 1796 edition. For instance, in New England, Maine and Vermont are added, with the Canadian border left uncertain. Overall this is an excellent American map based on Abraham Bradley's important compilation. $525

Gussefeld: Charte der XV Vereinigten Staaten
Franz Ludwig Güssefeld. "Charte Der XV Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-America." Weimar, Germany: Geogr. Instituts, 1804. 18 1/2 x 20 3/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

Güssefeld was a German cartographer who had issued a fine, early map of the United States for the Homann Heirs firm in 1784. In the next two decades many changes took place and much interest remained about America in Germany, so he produced this new map for the Geographic Institute in Weimar. The eastern states are shown with considerable accuracy and quite a bit of detail concerning rivers and major settlements, both coastal and inland. The information west of the Appalachians is more spotty, for though Kentucky is shown, Tennessee is not. Georgia is correctly shown in close to its present-day shape, but the Mississippi Territory, which was created in 1804, is not named and includes Tennessee. The Northwest Territory is shown in its original form, even though Ohio had been broken off in 1803. One of the most interesting aspects of this map is the indication, just east of Kentucky, of a non-existent region called of "Franklin." This reflects the one-time 'state' of Franklin, even though it is misplaced too far north, for Franklin was actually in what is today eastern Tennessee. Franklin was formed out of western North Carolina in 1784, with John Sevier appointed as Governor. However, the state was never recognized by Congress and when Sevier's four year term ended (he was later to become the first Governor of Tennessee), the region was again annexed by North Carolina to disappear from history except for in books and on about 20 maps, of which this is one. This demonstrates that despite the interest in America, it was hard for European cartographers to keep their maps up-to-date. This map is a good attempt and it does contain lots of interesting information, very attractively presented. $1,850

"The United States of America." From Cummings' Ancient & Modern Geography. Boston: Cummings & Hilliard, 1816. 8 1/2 x 11. Engraving by Thomas Wightman. Original outline color. Paper toned. Otherwise, very good condition.

A map of the United States at the end of the War of 1812. The map does contain good information on rivers, lakes and settlements, but it is the political situation which is of the most interest. In the trans-Appalachian region, both Kentucky and Tennessee are shown, and just south is the Mississippi Territory, stretching from Georgia to the Mississippi River. South of this is East and West Florida, also extending to the Mississippi. The old Northwest Territory is depicted broken up into four divisions, with Ohio and Indiana looking familiar, though with their border too far north. Michigan is shown with the upper peninsula, but also a strip of land down the western side of Lake Michigan right to the northern border of Indiana. The entire western part of the old territory, including today's Illinois, most of Wisconsin and Minnesota, is shown as one territory, named "Illinois." The early 19th century was a time of tremendous change in the United States and this map documents that nicely. $425

John Thomson. "Southern Provinces of the United States." From A New General Atlas. Edinburgh: J. Thomson, 1817. 19 1/2 x 23 1/4. Engraving by Hewitt. Full original hand color. Full margins. Very good condition. Inset view of "Characteristic Scenery of the Hudson River."

In the early nineteenth century, the British cartographic publishers were producing the finest maps in the world. John Thomson, working in Edinburgh, was one of the leading British cartographers and his maps are good evidence of the quality of work issued in Great Britain at the time. This striking map of the southeastern U.S. is an particularly good example of his work.

It was issued at an interesting period in the history of the American southeast. The state of Georgia is of particular note, for its borders are shown as they were in 1798 just before the Mississippi Territory was established, extending from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. It is not unusual for a British map maker to be late in reflecting internal American information on his maps, but the nearly twenty year lapse here makes one wonder whether Thomson was in fact a Georgian chauvinist. While somewhat anachronistic, the information of settlements, rivers, mountains, and ethnological details is fascinating. Overall, a fine map of the American southeast. $1,200

Melish: United States
John Melish. "United States of America. Compiled from the latest & best Authorities by John Melish." From C.V. Lavoisne's A Complete Genealogical, Historical, Chronological, and Geographical Atlas. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey & Son, 1820. 17 x 21. Engraving by Benjamin Tanner. Original hand coloring. Narrow bottom margin, as issued. Very good condition.

A map of the United States that was the off-spring of the combined talents of three of the most important figures in early American cartography: John Melish, Benjamin Tanner, and Mathew Carey. John Melish was the first American publisher to issue exclusively cartographic and geographic items. Melish came to dominate the industry in this country, and had a huge impact on all subsequent American mapping. It is Melish who brought American cartography up to world standards, and his maps clearly bespeak the quality of his work. This map by Melish depicts the United States from the Atlantic seaboard to the Rockies. The southwestern border of Michigan's upper peninsula is shown extending down to the Illinois border, and present-day Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota are designated as the last of the old North West Territory. The newest state, Missouri, is shown broken off from the original Louisiana Territory, and the remainder of that territory is shown as made up of the Missouri Territory and the Arkansas Territory. Information on the Missouri River and Columbia River systems is much more copious than that found for the southwest because of the detailed maps from Lewis and Clark's expedition ten years earlier which Melish made use of.

The map was engraved by Benjamin Tanner, one of the first American map engravers. Tanner began his career in New York City, but later moved to Philadelphia where he did much work for Melish. M. Carey & Son, the publisher of this map, was a short lived version of the firm founded by Mathew Carey in the eighteenth century, which dominated American cartographic publishing prior to the advent of John Melish. Carey was the primary shaper of the early American cartographic scene, creating the network of engravers, sellers, cartographers, and colorist that made Philadelphia the leading American city for this industry. In 1817, Mathew Carey made his son, Henry Isaac, a junior partner, and this version of the firm lasted until 1822, at which time Mathew retired. This edition of the Melish map, issued by M. Carey & Son in Lavoisne's atlas, is scarce and most desirable. $1,500

Alabern US
Pablo Alabern i Moles. "Estados Unidos de la America Septentrional." Barcelona, ca. 1820. 11 1/2 x 16 1/8. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

A very scarce example of Spanish mapping from the early nineteenth century. The most salient feature is the division of the country into three parts. In the east, outlined in yellow, are the settled states and territories, including the territories of Alabama and Illinois. Included in this section, across the Mississippi, are the lands that in 1819 became the Arkansas Territory and, in 1820, Missouri. Interestingly, while the name "Arkansas" appears, "Missouri" does not, instead the regional names of "Sn. Luis," "Lawrence" and "Howard" being used.

To the northwest of this settled area, outlined in pink, are probably those lands that Alabern thought of as Indian territories (many Indian tribes are noted). This include Michigan, the Northwest Territory, and the territory of "Missiri." To the northwest is the final section, outlined in blue, which is named "Columbia." This is the area that the Americans called the Oregon Country and Albern shows the expanded claims of the Americans at this time, with the border extending as far north as the 54th parallel.

Geographically the map also has much of interest. Rivers are copiously illustrated, not always correctly. In particular, Alabern shows the major western rivers all arising in a single high point in the center of the trans-Mississippi west, and error widely believed at the time. Also, Alabern shows dotted lines for two of the hypothetical, but non-existent "rivers of the west," running essentially from the Great Salt Lake to the Pacific Ocean. Attractive and unusual, this scarce map is one of the more interesting European maps of the changing United States in the nineteenth century. $450

Melish United States
John Melish. "United States of America." From Carey & Lea's A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas. Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1822. 17 x 21. Engraving by Benjamin Tanner. Full, original hand coloring. Some trimming to right margin and chipping in top right corner; expertly conserved and filled. Otherwise, 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 the United States and its territories as a whole served as the initial and index map, depicting the nation extending from the Atlantic seaboard to the Rocky Mountains. It is a later edition of the map issued in the Lavoisne atlas of 1821 (cf. above). $1,400

After John Melish. "États-Unis D'Amérique." From Jean Alexandre C. Buchon's Atlas Geographique des deux Ameriques. Paris: J. Carez, 1825. 16 5/8 x 20 7/8. Engraving by Ales. Original hand color. Very good condition.

Three years after Carey & Lea's important American Atlas, Jean Buchon issued his revised, French edition of the atlas. This is the general map of the US from that atlas, based on John Melish's rendering. Michigan is shown as a territory, and present-day Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota are designated as the last of the "Terre. Nord Ouest" The remainder of the Louisiana Territory is shown as the Missouri Territory and the Arkansas Territory. The area of today's plains states is labeled "Grand Désert Américain," derived from Stephen H. Long's important expedition of 1819-20. This map presented the best information on the United States to date and it would have been of much interest to the audience in Europe. $1,100

Streit US
F.W. Streit. "Charte von dem Nordamericanischen Staatenbunde nach den neuesten vorhandenen Hulfsmittleln entworfen und gezeichnet." Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs'sche Buchhandlung, ca. 1825. Engraving. Original outline color. 15 1/4 x 18 1/2. With soft creases; map attached to linen backing. Denver.

An early map to show the United States stretching from coast to coast, this German map shows the political situation of territories and states, with each having a colored outline identified in a color key in the top right corner. The map was drawn by F.W. Streit, a mathematician, cartographer and engineer in the Prussian artillery. It shows the United States after the creation of the Arkansas Territory (1819) and the state of Missouri (1820), but before the western half of the former was cut off for Indian lands (1824). The map has an incredible topographical underpinning using hatching, upon which are indicated rivers and major towns and forts.

The trans-Mississippi West is depicted with very interesting information. The geography is based on the explorations of Lewis & Clark (1804-6) and, Zebulon Pike (1806-7). Of note is the depiction of Pike's Peak as "Gr. Spitz B." (standing for large, pointed mountain). It is from the slopes of this mountain that Streit shows the Rio Grande, Arkansas, Platte, and Missouri Rivers all flowing, an interesting representation of a common error of the period. The Rocky Mountains are shown as a narrow ridge running just west of Pike's Peak, with the lands to the west appearing to be open to the Pacific, including a representation of the "River of the West," flowing from two large inland lakes (one "Salz S.") to San Francisco Bay. Also in the trans-Mississippi region, Streit shows a great number of Indian tribes. A fascinating map of the period. $450

Hoffmann U.S.
After John Melish. "Vereinigte Staaten von Nord America." From Carl Bernhard's Reise durch Nord Amerika in 1825 und 1826. Weimar: Wilhem Hoffmann, 1828. 16 1/8 x 20 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. With folds and narrow bottom left margin, as issued. Some transferring, but overall very good condition.

A German version of Melish's important 1822 map of the United States. The German's were very interested in the United States during the nineteenth century, and this is a fine topographical picture of the country issued for that market. By using Melish's map, Hoffman made sure to have an excellent image of the United States in the third decade of the nineteenth century. $650

United States ca. 1830
"United States." Ca. 1830. Engraving. 10 1/4 x 17 7/8. Original hand color. Short separations at centerfold, repaired. Very good condition. Denver.

A fascinating American map of the United States from near the beginning of the third decade of the nineteenth century, including a table which shows distances between the major cities in the country, along with their populations based on the 1830 census. States are indicated, as are the Michigan and Missouri Territories. Of particular interest are the "districts" based on Indian populations. These include the "District of Huron" (present-day Wisconsin, "Attach'd to Michigan"), and the Sioux, Mandan, Osage, and Ozark Districts. Texas is also indicated as part of Mexico, with San Antonia, Galveston, and Nacogdoches indicated. Handsome original color helps define the political divisions. $325

1832 geological map of the US
"A Geological Map of the United States." London: I.T. Hinton & Simpkin & Marshall, 1832. 9 3/4 x 15 1/4. Engraving by Fenner, Sears & Co. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

An early geological map of the United States issued in England in 1832. Nine different types of geological regions are identified for the region east of the continental divide, indicated with bright hand colored explained in a key in the lower left. This geological information is layered on a geographical picture that is, in what is now the American West, very confused. The Rockies are shown as a single ridge, with seemingly a simple passage from the east across to rivers running straight to the Pacific Ocean; this was an error long held by many about the region. A number of "rivers of the west" are indicated, including the famous Rio San Buenaventura." Attractive and fascinating for its depiction of the state of knowledge of the continent at the time. $275

Selves United States
Henri Selves. "Carte des Etats-Unis, a l'usage des Colleges." From Altas Geographique dresse sous la direction du Conseil Royal de l'instruction publique pour l'usage des colleges. Paris: H. Selves, 1832. 12 5/8 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Original color. Very good condition. Denver.

An unusual French map of the United States issued for the use of students. As such, the map presents major geographical and political information clearly. Mountain ranges--with the Rockies shown as a single ridge running north to south--and rivers are shown and named, as well as large lakes. The eastern states and their major towns are indicated with contrasting pastel colors and the trans-Mississippi West is divided into "districts," rather than territories. The districts include Huron, Sioux, Mandan, Osage, Ozark, and a large Oregon District showing the claims of the Americans extending well above the 49th parallel. The Great American Desert is shown as "Désert d'Arkansas." Also of interest are the depictions of the non-existent "rivers of the west"--the Mongos, Sacremento, and Buenaventure--shown flowing from lakes in the Great Basin to the Pacific Coast. These rivers were long sought for, as the nature of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was not really known. $450

Burr U.S.
David H. Burr. "United States." From Universal Atlas. New York: Illman & Pilbrow, 1833. 10 1/2 x 12 1/2. Engraving by Illman & Pilbrow. Full original color. Very good condition.

An excellent map of the United States 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. The states and territories to just beyond the Mississippi, including those in the old Northwest Territory, are shown with good detail or rivers, towns, and mountains. To the west is a single large "Missouri Territory" with its rivers detailed carefully. The tip of Florida appears in an inset. Also of interest is the depiction of the Erie Canal and a canal running south from Cleveland. Burr's maps are scarce and quite desirable. $350

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