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Immense Wall Map of the U.S. after the dust of Manifest Destiny Settled

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341.     [MAP]. MITCHELL, S[amuel] Augustus & W[ellington] Williams. Mitchell’s New National Map, Exhibiting the United States, with the North American British Provinces, Sandwich Islands, Mexico and Central America, together with Cuba and Other West India Islands. Philadelphia, Published by S. Augustus Mitchell, 1856. Engraved by W. Williams. Map Engraver Philadelphia. Explanation… Constructed and Engraved by W. Williams 33 South Fifth St. [population table below lower border] Population of Each County in the United States, According to the Census of 1850, with the Name of the County Town. [scenes, tables, and inset maps, clockwise from top right] Landing of the Pilgrims Dec. 22nd. 1620; American Steamship Crossing the Atlantic; Columbus Ship Discovery of America Oct. 12th 1492; Clipper Ship Flying Cloud; [double hemisphere map, 19.7 x 38.5 cm horizontal, with title] Map of the World Clobular [sic] Exhibiting the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Constructed and Engd. by W. Williams Phila. [above Western hemisphere map, table entitled] Area in Square Miles, and Population According to the Census of 1850, of the Various States and Territories Comprising the United States of North America [larger map, at lower left, 32 x 41.8 cm] Map of the World on the Mercator Projection, Exhibiting the American Continent and Its Centre [distance and statistical tables in 5 columns] Distance Tables Land Routes… Water Routes… Length of Rivers… Height of Mountains… [map of Hawaiian Islands, 13.3 x 19 cm] Map of the Sandwich Islands…. Philadelphia, 1856. Engraved wall map on four sheets, original hand coloring (shading and outline), wide ornate floral borders, map mounted on original cartographical cloth, remains of green silk selvages, light contemporary varnish, original black wooden rollers. Map proper in some places extends beyond neat line and/or borders. Neat line to neat line: 141.3 x 141.3 cm; border to border: 152.7 x 152.7 cm; top border to lower line of population table at bottom: 161.7 cm; height of population table: 8.5 cm; width of population table: 153 cm; overall sheet size: 166 x 172 cm. Worn along edges with small loss of eastern Nova Scotia at upper right margin, a few old repairs and stains (mostly marginal), selvages damaged with some losses and fraying, some rubbing and splits, as is usually the case with varnished, rolling wall maps which were used primarily in the classroom. For its size and usage as an educational tool, this huge map is in acceptable condition and an attractive example of an oversize nineteenth-century U.S. wall map.

     First edition of one of the finest large-scale delineations of the United States and surrounding countries with an emphasis on the recently acquired West and Texas. The map was very popular and continued to be published until at least as late as 1862. Phillips, America, p. 906. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #896, Vol. IV, p. 49: “The…‘New National Map’ that S. Augustus Mitchell published in 1856 was an achievement…. Mitchell’s immense map was doubtless popular in many school rooms.”

     This map was more about the achievement of Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion than detailed cartographic updating. Now the United States is delineated from Atlantic to Pacific and includes the acquisitions due to the annexation of Texas, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (the recently surveyed Boundary between Mexico and the U.S.), and the Gadsden Purchase. Shifting political boundaries and increased westward emigration are reflected in new territories. Everything in the United States is expanding, even the population (which is set out in statistical detail) and transportation (with charts indicating distances by land and water and vignettes of clipper ship and steamships). Other vignettes hark back to the landfall of Columbus in America in 1492 and the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

     S. Augustus Mitchell (1792-1868) and his family’s cartographical empire were among the foremost commercial map establishments in the United States during the nineteenth century. See Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers and Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, Vol. III, pp. 260-261. See Tooley, Vol. IV, pp. 393-394 for more on engraver Wellington Williams.


Sold. Hammer: $2,000.00; Price Realized: $2,400.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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