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European Atlases

[ 16th century | 18th century | 19th century | 20th century ]
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16th Century

Sebastian Munster. Cosmographey oder Beschreibung aller Laender, Herrschafften . . .. Basel: Henrichum / Petri, 1564. Folio. Full vellum, blindstamping, over wooden boards. Remains of old leather straps with clasps gone. 4 raised bands. Head and base of spine has old repairs. Maps: 16 double page, 9 single page; Views: 35 double page, 3 fold out; and 1 single page. Numerous text illustrations. Collation: 6 ll., 14 double folio maps, 10 ll. Index, 1,475 pp. plus Petri's printer's colophon. Complete as collated by Sabin 51379. This edition is Sabin 51390. New end pages. A few enumerated flaws: p. 346 map of Sicily torn and half missing; p. 693 foldout view of Worms, Germany, w/ 1" square chip, but with no loss of lines; p. 992 repairs to border of foldout profile of Vienna with slight loss at right neat line. The entire book has some browning and spots throughout as a used copy would. The book is housed in a new archival box which opens out to become a reading stand.

A lovely and always fascinating issue of Munster's classic study of the world. The initial impression of the intricately blind stamped vellum covers is that few have survived with such fine old tooling, covered wooden boards, and remains of clasps. The intricate titlepage is intriguing. A group of initial, woodblock, double-folio maps are as follows:

Each of these maps have enumerated surprising accuracies and delightful inaccuracies. This copy has the complete set of 14 foretext maps called for in Harold L. Ruland's "A Survey of the Double-page Maps in . . . Cosmographia Universalis 1544-1628 of Sebastian Munster . . .." in Imago Mundi XVI: 84-97. The four maps of the then acknowledged continents were first depicted together by Munster as separate entities in this work and in his Geographia Universalis. See: R.V. Tooley Maps and Mapmakers, p. 26. North and South America were considered one continent at this time; however the map is the first to show them as large land masses connected by an isthmus.

Among these maps and larger views are other views, portraits, genre scenes, plants, animals, allegories, and representations of general events in the hundreds.

Moreland and Bannister credit Munster, along with Ortelius and Mercator, as among the three who had the widest influence on spreading geographic knowledge throughout Europe in the Sixteenth century. "His Cosmographia contained not only the latest maps and views of many well-known cities, but included an encyclopaedic amount of detail about the known, and unknown, world and undoubtedly must have been one of the most widely read books of its time, going through nearly forty editions in six languages." Antique Maps. A Collector's Guide, pp. 78-81. $40,000

18th Century

By the eighteenth century, atlas making had become a serious scientific, economic, military, and political process. The leading cartographic nations at this time, France and England, were also the leading world powers and their atlases of the world reflected their universal interests. The British and French atlases contained country and regional maps of great detail, and they set a very high standard for atlas making. In the late eighteenth century, the events in America involving the newly minted United States were of great interest, even though the cartographers did not have access to new surveys or much first hand information. They did have access to the best pre-Revolutionary surveys, and they tried to keep their maps current, especially for political information.

Currently none available.

19th Century

European publishers were at a disadvantage of location with reference to maps of North America. As surveys were made, travelers' reports filtered in, and political decisions were rendered, this North American data was immediately available to American mapmakers, but it would take weeks or more for this information to find its way across the Atlantic. European mapmakers were unable to keep their American maps as current or as accurate as could their counterparts. However, European publishers had many advantages over their American colleagues. Outside of America, Europeans had elaborate networks of trade and information unrivaled by those of the Americans. Also, mapmaking was long-established in Europe, giving publishers access to the finest material and highly skilled craftsmen. Though often somewhat anachronistic in their American depictions, atlases issued in Europe were of superior quality, they were generally better with reference to the rest of the world, and they often introduced important innovations to mapmaking.

Johann Georg August Galletti. Allgemeine Weltkunde, oder Geographisch-statistisch-historische Übersichtsblätter aller Länder. Leipzig und Perth: Konrad A. Hartleben, 1818. Oblong folio. Original printed wrappers using blue paper. 108 pages and 26 full page, engraved maps. Some maps have engraving credited to "Fr. Karacs." Stains on covers and some maps. Subtle and useful. As found. Ref.: LeGear, Atlases, 6025.

A fascinating atlas issued through the eyes of Europeans who saw the world as a post-Napoleonic structure designed by the Congress of Vienna. Johann Galletti (1750-1828) issued a number of atlases according to LeGear. The Library of Congress owns one with 20 maps dated 1807-10, and LeGear mentions a 12th. edition printed in 1859. The map of the United States of America shows a very strange shape for Ohio with the rest of the old Northwest Territory labeled "Indiana." Dramatically more information is given for roads and topography in Europe than in Africa, Asia or the Western Hemisphere. Much information interestingly presented. $1,600

North America
Adam Christian Gaspari. Allgemeiner Hand-Atlas der Ganzen Erde. Weimar: Geographis-chen Instituts, [1821]. Large folio. Original three-quarters leather binding with considerable wear, but tight. Ex-library with library stamps mostly removed. Complete with 60 engraved maps. Original outline hand color. With some internal creasing, short tears and spots. Sheets well handled at bottom edges, especially at beginning. Map of world with considerable wear at folded edge and old repaired tear at bottom. Map of Austrian Empire with long tear at bottom centerfold. Overall, interior very good. Philips 3544.

Adam Christian Gaspari (1752-1830) was a geographer and publisher, and one of the editors of the important scientific journal Allgemeine Geographische Ephemeriden. The German scientific community of the early nineteenth century, personified by Humboldt, was determined to publish the latest scientifically acquired information in an accurate and accessible manner. Their atlases, of which this is a fine example, demonstrate this concern with regular updating, very dense yet clearly presented detail, and a strongly scientific (though still attractive) appearance. The amount of first-rate geographic information presented in this atlas of the entire world, mostly drawn by Carl Ferdinand Weiland, is most impressive. A good example of this is his oversized, 1821 map of the United States. The topography, placement of settlements and native tribes, and indication of political divisions is excellent. Of note is the fact that the Arkansas Territory, formed just two years earlier in 1819, is depicted, an interesting contrast with the British atlases above in being up-to-date. $8,750
[ Click here for images: cover; Western Hemisphere ]

J.E. Wörl. Atlas über alle Theile der Erde. Carlsruhe & Freiburg, Germany: Herder'sche Verlagsbandlung, 1843. Oblong folio. Original cloth and marbled board binding, with original engraved label. Some minor wear at spine corners. Flyleaf creased. Complete with 28 lithographed maps. Original outline hand color. Library stamp on world map. Maps with foxing throughout. Maps of North America and U.S. show Texas as republic. Cf. Phillips: 6095.

A very rare German atlas by Joseph Edmund Wörl (also Woerl). Its nature as a school atlas is indicated by the running title on most maps, "Woerl's Schul-Atlas." Asia and Africa have one map each, but the European countries are illustrated, including six maps of Germany, and there are separate maps of South America, the West Indies, North America and the United States. These last two maps are of particular interest as each shows Texas as an independent republic. $3,700

John Bartholomew. Philips' Handy Atlas of the Counties of Ireland. Revised by P.W. Joyce. London: George Philip & Son, [1881]. 12mo. with 33 double page color maps showing Ireland and the baronies of each county, plus index, and advertisements. Gilt decorated green cloth, beveled boards.

The third generation of the Edinburgh based Bartholomew line of geographers, engravers and publishers, John Bartholomew Jr. (1831-1893) was the son of John Bartholomew Sr. (1805-1861) and grandson of George B. Bartholomew (1784-1871).

George Philip (1800-1882) was a cartographer and publisher who in 1834 started his own business in Liverpool producing maps and educational books. His son George (1823-1902) was admitted to the business in 1848, and the firm later opened in London. First producing hand-tinted copper plate maps by cartographers such as the elder John Bartholomew, August Petermann and William Hughes, by the time Philip produced his county maps beginning in 1862, he was using machine colored maps produced on power-driven lithographic presses. The firm also supplied atlases and textbooks overseas, starting with an atlas for Australian schools in 1865 and for New Zealand in 1869. The demand from boarding schools, established after 1870, enabled further expansion in the market for general textbooks, school stationery, atlases and wall maps. $275

Atlas Manuel de Géographie Moderne Contenant Cinquante-Quatre Cartes Imprimées en Couleurs. Paris: Librairie Hachette & Cie., 1884. Each leaf 16 1/2 x 11. 54 maps, some folio, others double folio; on heavy stock. Color lithography. A few pages spotted while most are bright and clean. Marbled end papers. Half leather with gold tooling, rubbed. A lovely volume.

This atlas features very detailed maps of the entire world. A focus on the United States shows present-day Oklahoma as "Indian Territory," and North and South Dakota are one Dakota. Such detail is also characteristic upon plates depicting the rest of the world.

Binding is fine at the spine and the extremities could use some polish and concentration. $225

20th Century

Paul Marie Joseph Vidal de LaBlache. Histoire et Geographie. Atlas classique. Nouvelle Edition. Paris: Librairie Armand Colin. ca. 1907. Phillips, Atlases, 53. Folio. Original boards and spine. 342 Cartes et Cartons, index alphabetique de 30,000 noms. Wear to spine. Boards have ink/water marks. Corners and edges of boards show normal wear. Interior good.

Paul Vidal LaBlache (1845-1918) is given credit for helping to establish an entire generation of geographers in France. Vidal developed his own approach to geography, focusing on a regional method rather than a systematic one. His view was steeped in chorology. Vidal's efforts came to be known as la tradition vidalienne. His publications included 17 books, 107 articles and 240 reviews and reports. $125


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