Today we are excited to share this beautiful map of the United States and lower Canada, published by Laurie & Whittle, in London in 1794. This map was published shortly after the signing of the Treaties of Versailles in 1783, and offers a nice detailed look at the original colonies, East and West Florida, and Spanish Louisiana. In the preliminary Articles of Peace signed in 1783, Spain negotiated rights to Florida, with Spain keeping West Florida and gaining back East Florida in exchange for the Bahamas. This map accurately depicts both East and West Florida in yellow, to represent Spanish holdings. Article III of the Treaty, concerning fishing rights, is reprinted next to the cartouche, which includes one of the earliest representations of an American Flag to appear on a printed map. There is also excellent detail on the various Indian tribes in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, including the Choctaws and the Cherokees.
New to the OPG inventory is this colorful map of the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Published by Case, Tiffany & Co. in 1852, the map is an incredible snapshot of the United States right after the Compromise of 1850. It was a very tumultuous time for our nation; and the delineation and distribution (as well as political leanings) of new territory acquired at the the end of the Mexican-American War were bitterly contested.
This map shows the newly created state of California, added to the Union as a free state. It also depicts the boundaries for the Territory of New Mexico and Utah Territory. The shape of Texas is distorted on the map, as a result of the Rio Grande engraved too vertically.
A portrait of George Washington, along with an early rendition of the Capitol building in Washington, adorn the right side of the map. The map also indicates important towns and cities, forts, missionary settlements, and railroad lines. Steamboat routes from New York to Chagres and to California by way of Panama are also shown.
Today we are sharing a new addition to our OPG map inventory, John Reid’s General Map of North America Drawn from the Best Surveys. 1795. This map is from John Reid’s 1796 American Atlas, which was only the second atlas to be published in the United States. At the time, Philadelphia was the hub of most US publishing endeavors, but Reid chose to both engrave and produce the map in New York City. He worked with the engraver John Scoles to create this 21 map atlas. Unlike many of the atlases of the early 19th century, which were produced and updated several times over, there is only one edition of Reid’s American Atlas, making the maps within it rare and collectible examples of early American cartography.
This map, and five others in Reid’s “American Atlas”, is a cartographic copy of the America map in William Winterbotham’s “An Historical, Geographical, Commercial and Philosophical View of the American United States…”, a 1785 London published book containing maps by John Russell. The rest of the maps in Reid’s atlas were completely new, although somewhat inspired and influenced by Mathew Carey’s atlas published the year prior.
Cartographically, this map shows the new north-south boundary lines of the fledgling United States. The northeast border is set to the St. Croix River, as a result of the 1795 Jay Treaty between Great Britain and the United States.
In the south, the 1795 Pinckney’s Treaty between Spain and the United States re-negotiated the border between Georgia and Spanish-controlled East and West Florida. This agreement lowered the line back to the 31st parallel north and increased the United States’ access to the Mississippi River and the extremely important trading port of New Orleans.
There is substantial detail along the northwest coast of America, but only a meager amount of information beyond the coast. Reid fails to identify western settlements, peoples, or topographical features. The lone exceptions are the Rocky Mountains, which Reid labels the “Stony Mountains”, and a large, unnamed lake, which is now called Lake Timpanogos, located in present-day Utah.
With the Louisiana Purchase still 8 years in the future, Reid (not-surprisingly) focuses almost all cartographic detail on New Spain, British Canada, and the new United States. The map includes “References to the United States”- a key to the names of the States. Scale for the map is not given.
The Old Print Gallery is celebrating maps in 2014, with a mini exhibit of antique American maps displayed on our gallery walls. We selected eight maps from our collection, starting with the influential Munster 1588 map Americae sive Noi Orbis Nova Descriptio, and ending with Mitchell’s 1861 Military Map of the United States. Gallery friends are invited to stop by and see “snapshots” of our great country over time, through wars and conflict as well as periods of prodigious exploration and expansion, as told by maps.
This influential woodcut map from Munster’s Cosmographia replaced the earlier and highly speculative Munster map of 1540. Cartographically based on Ortelius’ 1570 map, this map features a typical Ortelian treatment of the western coastline of North America. Place names like Quieriva, Anian, and Tolm are artfully engraved in the Northern continent, along with river ways and mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The map shows an oversized southwestern coastline of South America, sometimes referred to as the “Chilean bulge”. A massive southern continent, Meridies Tierra del Fuego, sits at the bottom of the map.
This map was issued unchanged from 1588 through 1628. A secondary title in German appears above the map, “Die newen Inseln so hinder Hispania Gegen Orient bey dem Landt Indie Gelegen”.
Hondius engraved this map for his first edition of Gerard Mercator’s atlas. It was issued in his atlases until 1630. The enlarged North American continent includes many errors, notably the northeast portion in the current U.S., which is badly distorted, and an oddly protruding Virginia coastline. It does have a more accurate depiction of the southwest coast of South America.
Various scenes which were taken from the earlier volumes of de Bry’s Grand Voyages adorn this map. The inset in the lower left margin is an intriguing Brazilian native scene, illustrating the method used to make a local beverage.
This is a quite decorative and highly desirable map of the Americas. It appeared in Speed’s atlas Prospect of the Most Formed Parts of the World, the first English world atlas, although the copperplates were engraved by Abraham Goos in Amsterdam, the center of the European map trade.
This was the first map published in an atlas that depicted California not as a peninsula, but as an island, a cartographic misconception that endured for nearly 100 years. The map has a fairly accurate rending of the East Coast, especially between Chesapeake Bay and Cape Cod. Many English colonies appear on the map, including Plymouth in the northeast and Iames Citti in Virginia. The northwest coastline is very faint.
Surrounding this map on two sides are images of indigenous peoples found from Greenland to the Straits of Magellan. The figures on the left represent natives from the north, while figures on the right side are southern natives. Eight town views appear on top. Although the map depicts the English presence in North America, surprisingly none of the town views are English colonies. Rather, they show important early views of Havana, St. Domingo, and Rio, among others. An inset map shows Greenland, Baffin’s Bay and Iceland.
This map shows North America as known in the early 18th century, with the English colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, a large Louisiana to the south, and Canada with New France taking up the northern tier. At upper left is a large inset of the Gulf coast from the Mississippi delta to Cap St. Blaise. The map prominently features the Mississippi River and Great Lakes.
This map has an elaborately engraved title cartouche, which depicts an allegorical scene of the Mississippi Bubble, a rather poor investment scheme by John Law to develop French Louisiana. The cherubs floating above the cartouche are shown issuing stock for Law’s trading company, while a female personification of the Mississippi River pours out riches and gold to frenzied buyers on her left. To her right, forlorn investors mourn their losses and stab themselves, while cherubs below blow bubbles, surrounded by worthless stocks.
This is an unusual folio-sized map of the English colonies, shown approximately at the close of the French and Indian War. No cartographer or publisher’s name is given. This scarce and highly detailed map later appeared as a folded insert in History of the War in America printed in 1779 Dublin, and the next year in An Impartial History of the War in America. It was engraved based on John Mitchell’s map of 1755.
The map, meant to acquaint the general reader with the North American theater of the Seven Years War, identifies Indian tribes and forts built by the French.
An early map of the United States, printed soon after the conclusion of the American Revolution. It was published in A New Royal Authentic and Complete System of Universal Geography by Rev. Thomas Bankes. The map shows the first 13 states; it was published prior to admission of Vermont, Kentucky or Tennessee. The map includes a great deal of information on the Great Lakes and Mississippi valley areas. It is also filled with extensive notations on everything from locations and characteristics of Native American tribes (ex: “Tintons- a Wandering Nation”) to land conditions (ex: “Extensive Meadows Full of Buffalos” and “Country Full of Mines”). East and West Florida are shown, as are a large Louisiana and New Mexico.
This unusual map was first issued by Gussefeld / Homann Heirs of Nuremburg in 1784, showing the newly formed United States under the title “Charte über die XIII verinigte Staaten von Nord-America.” The plate was subsequently updated and reissued in 1818 to reflect additional states. Many of the new states are strangely shaped. Virginia is engraved with an almost straight north to south western border, and Kentucky and Ohio are wedge shaped. Indiana and Illinois are placed approximately 100 miles to the west of where they should be. Illinois does not touch Lake Michigan. Mississippi is shown as a territory, despite gaining statehood in December of 1817. A very scarce map.
A scarce separately issued broadside map produced at the beginning of the American Civil War. This map shows the new territories that were made after southern states seceded. As the trans-Mississippi region developed during the 1850s, there was a call to break up the very large territories into smaller ones. However, every newly created territory had an impact on the power struggle in Congress over the issue of slavery, so between 1854, with its Kansas-Nebraska Act, and 1860, no new territories were created. After secession, the northerners in Congress were able to act quickly and create three new territories: a large Dakota Territory, Territory of Nevada, and Colorado Territory- all present on this map.
Another feature of this map is the depiction of a never-existing horizontal border between the free territory of New Mexico and slave territory of Arizona. On August 1 1861, the Confederacy established Arizona Territory, consisting of the southern half of the Union’s New Mexico Territory; the Union still claimed the whole territory. The region was sometimes called Arizona before 1863, despite the fact it was still part of the Territory of New Mexico until 1912.
Two large inset maps show County map of Virginia, and North Carolina and County map of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Smaller inset maps show Hampton Roads, Washington, D.C., Pensacola Bay, Charleston Harbor, New Orleans, Louisiana, Baltimore and Richmond.
New to the Old Print Gallery website are several maps of the United States. The maps range from 1711 to 1851, and mark the exploration and development of settlements beyond the East Coast. Development across the continent was slow after the initial East Coast settlements were established ( Saint Augustine in 1656, Jamestown in 1607, New Plymouth in 1620 and later Detroit in 1700 and New Orleans in 1718). Knowledge of the vast Northern interior was limited to a few miles either side of river courses and to the southwest regions thanks to the establishment of Spanish and later French missions. Accordingly, much of the cartographical information of the United States before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and Lewis and Clark explorations of 1804-06 was scarce and dominated by misconceptions. With the beginning of the Nineteenth century, North American maps tell a story of the great settlement of the west, the exploration of territories, and their subsequent achievements to statehood.
1) A New Map of North America According to the Newest Observations. This copper plate engraving is by Herman Moll. It was published in London 1711 and is from his “Atlas Geographus” . In this map, California appears as an island on the Sanson model. The myth of an insular California has been discussed before on the blog (read about it here and here). Above California, the Straits of Anian are sketchily outlined. The Great Lakes all appear and the Mississippi River is correctly located. In the interior, another early American map misconception is present- Lahontan’s mythical River Longue. (Detail of River Longue below).
French manuscript maps of the 1670s propose a vast flowing river joining the Mississippi to the Pacific. In 1703, Baron Lahontan wrote and produced a map of the “River Longue” that stretched from the Mississippi to a great range of mountains in the west. He depicted a short pass through the mountains from which another river flowed (presumably) into the Pacific. He included accounts of Indian tribes who lived on islands in a great lake near the source of the river, and tales of crocodiles filling the waterways. The story of the large river flowing from the west fired the imaginations of many of his readers, since early exploration of North America was inextricably linked with the quest for a route to the Orient. The River Longue was thus a variant of the North West passage myth, and helped keep it alive. Lahontan’s concept was copied by virtually all cartographers through the 18th century.
2) A Map of the United States of America, with Part of the Adjoining Provinces. This copper engraving, with original hand color, was published June 2, 1791, by R. Wilkinson, London. It was engraved by T. Conder. This map is an early map of the United States, with little development in the West. The Tennessee area has special interest: Clarksville and Knoxville both appear, but not the name Tennessee. Instead the area is divided between “Cumberland” and “Holston,” while still joined to North Carolina.
3) Map of the Northern Part of the United States of America. By Abraham Bradley Jr. This copper engraving was published by Thomas & Andrews, Boston, 1797. It is the first state of two from the “Morse’s American Gazetteer.” Notable for being one of the earliest maps printed in America to extend to the Mississippi River, Bradley’s map is equally important for outlining States I (Ohio), II (Indiana), III (Illinois), IV (Michigan) and V (Wisconsin) — the new states formed from the Old Northwest Territory, as proposed by the Ordinance of 1789. On this map, the Western Reserve is called New Connecticut.
4) United States. By John Tallis. This steel engraving was published by the London Printing and Publishing Company, c.1851. This map is from “The Illustrated Atlas and Modern History of the World” and is a highly sought-after decorative map of the United States. It includes two portraits, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, as well as inset views of a Buffalo Hunt, Penn’s treaty with the Indians, and Washington’s Monument. It also shows a strangely configured Texas and New Mexico, a pre-Indian Territory region called Western Territory, a massive Missouri Territory, and a strangely elongated Nebraska Territory extending northward to Canada.
5) Map of the United States : Engraved to Illustrate Mitchell’s New Intermediate Geography. By J. H. Young. Published by S. Augustus Mitchell, Philadelphia. Engraved by E. Yeager. This is an informative United States map, especially in the West. Despite vast developments, many areas retain their territorial status, including Montana, Wyoming, Dakota, Arizona and New Mexico, all of which did not gain statehood until 1889 or later.
To view these, and the other United States maps, available at Old Print Gallery, visit our website ( here) or stop by our Washington, DC gallery, located in the heart of historic Georgetown.