A Long-Lived, Grand, Colorful Pocket Map of Illinois

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350. [MAP]. PECK, J[ohn] [Mason] (compiler), John Messinger (surveyor), and A.J. Mathewson (surveyor). Colton’s Sectional Map of the State of Illinois. Compiled from the United States Surveys. Also exhibiting the Internal Improvements, distances between Towns Villages & Post Offices, the outlines of Prairies, Woodlands, Marshes, & the lands donated to the State by the Gen. Govt. for the purpose of Internal Improvements. By J.M. Peck, John Messinger, and A.J. Mathewson. Published by G.W. and C.B. Colton & Co. 172 William St. New York. 1869. [below title] Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1836 by J.H. Colton & Co. in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York. [inset map at upper left] The City of Chicago... [inset map at lower left] The City of St. Louis... [inset text at left] Public Lands... Land Districts... [inset tables at lower right] State of Illinois Area 55,405 Square Miles... Progressive Movement of Population... [above lower border, at center] Maps of Every Description to accompany Reports, Prospectuses etc. Drawn, Engraved, Printed & Colored at G.W & CB Colton & Co’s Map Establishment 172 William St. New York. New York: G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co., 1869. Lithograph map on banknote paper with original full color by county, rose and green outline color, ornate border; border to border: 105 x 71.2 cm; overall sheet size: 106 x 72 cm; folded into publishers’ original embossed brown cloth covers (15.5 x 10 cm), lettered in gilt on upper cover: Colton’s Map of Illinois Exhibiting the Sections by Peck & Messenger G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co., printed leaf affixed to verso of upper cover: G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. (Successors of J.H. Colton) Publishers of Maps, Atlases, Guide-Books.... Map: Other than a few clean splits with no losses, very fine and fresh. Pocket covers: Fine except loss of paper at hinge. Spectacular with its intense color and grand size.

     Later edition of a map that first appeared in 1836, substantially revised in 1860, followed by additional editions to the 1870s, with constant revisions to update growth and development of the state. Phillips, America, p. 329 (1870 edition). Rumsey 4925 (1867 edition).

      Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition, Vol. 3, p. 241) has an article on Messinger, and two entries (p. 395) for J.M., or John Mason Peck. John V. Bergen (“Maps and Their Makers in Early Illinois: The Burr Map and the Peck-Messinger Map” in Western Regional Illinois Studies, Vol. X, No. 1, Spring 1987, pp. 5-32) gives some interesting information on the makers and genesis of this long-lived map, which among other things, helps sort out the confusion about surveyor J.M. Peck:

Responsibility for creating an individual map may well be spread among several technical and professional occupations representing various stages in the production process. Certain individuals worked on various aspects of map making but rarely did anyone do the whole job. The principal contributors include: surveyor, cartographer, compiler, draftsman, map editor, engraver, printer, publisher, and distributor.... Publishers who may have known little about geography and cartography frequently contracted with map compilers, cartographers, and map editors to prepare a map. Such apparently was the case with J.H. Colton company which contracted with John Mason Peck and John Messinger to provide their expertise on the facts of Illinois geography.... [They] offered experience, expertise, and name recognition for the most detailed Illinois map published up to 1836. Although Peck was more widely travelled and better known in Illinois, Messinger may have contributed as much or more than Peck to this new venture in map publication. J.H. Colton and Company of New York was still a relative newcomer in the map business [and] negotiated with Peck and Messinger to be compilers and editors for their state of Illinois map.....

  Peck’s credentials for compiling a quality map of Illinois were well established by the mid-1830s when Colton sought a knowledgeable Illinoian to prepare a new map. Peck and Messinger had already prepared A New Map of Illinois and Part of Wisconsin Territory, a smaller map engraved and published in Cincinnati. More important perhaps, Peck had published in 1831 a successful Guide for Emigrants and in 1834 a popular Gazetteer of Illinois.   The presence of Peck’s name prominently displayed on the Colton map surely must have played an important role in the successful marketing of it through at least eighteen printings and/or revisions. In 1870, twelve years after Peck’s death and twenty-four years after Messinger’s death, the Colton company (G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co.) produced a much revised edition, no longer using any compiler’s name.   Talented as John Mason Peck was, he may have received more credit for the map than he should have in comparison to his surveyor-mathematician friend, John Messinger. That is a weakness in the dual author listing on title pages and library references. This is not to belittle Peck but to remind that Messinger must have been a major contributor to the reliability and accuracy of the Illinois map. Of course, by the mid 1830s, they had a great amount of factual information as well as manuscript maps to examine among government records. Nonetheless, their efforts and both of their Sectional Map of Illinois published by Colton.... The Peck-Messinger Sectional Map was published every two or three years for nearly thirty-three years as a business venture designed not only to serve the map reading public but also to make a profit.


Auction 23 Abstracts

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