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John Reid's American Atlas

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Maps by John Reid. From American Atlas. New York: J. Reid, 1796. Engravings. Very good condition, except as noted.

In 1795, William Winterbotham issued in London An Historical, Geographical, Commercial and Philosophical View of the American United States…, which was accompanied by An America Atlas consisting of nine maps of sections of America by John Russell. The following year, New York bookseller John Reid issued an American edition of Winterbotham's work, this time accompanied by a more substantial American Atlas containing 21 maps. Six of these-North America, South America, West Indies, United States, Kentucky, and Washington D.C.-were direct copies of the Russell maps, but the others were new maps, though both these maps and the concept was certainly greatly influenced by Mathew Carey's atlas of the year before. Though Philadelphia was the center of most American mapmaking in the eighteenth century, the atlas was engraved and produced in New York, and when issued it was only the second American atlas published in this country. Carey appears to have had better commercial instincts, for while his atlas went into further editions, this is the only edition of the Reid atlas, and its considerable scarcity seems to indicate it was not a success. The maps, however, are rare and important examples of nascent American cartography.


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