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2010/11 Winter Catalogue > 14. A HIGHLY DECORATIVE MITCHELL & YOUNG MAP of LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI & ALABAMA



14. A HIGHLY DECORATIVE MITCHELL & YOUNG MAP of LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI & ALABAMA

Samuel Augustus Mitchell and James Hamilton Young. “Map of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi & Alabama” (Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1835). Engraved pocket map with original hand coloring. 17 1/2 x 22" including lovely decorative vine border. Sheet size: 18 x 22 3/8." Inset indexes with “Steam Boat Routes” and “Principal Stage Routes, through the States of Louisiana, Mississippi & Alabama.” Border includes two decorative vignettes depicting a bald eagle with armaments overlooking a steamboat and a sailing ship at top center, and a bowl of fruit at bottom center. Overall age toning. Some marginal soiling. Some marginal and border losses at l. Some marginal tears, professionally stabilized. Folds professionally stabilized. Very good.

Price: SOLD.

Mitchell’s Map of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi & Alabama effectively documents the progress of settlement in these states at the time, with roads and towns concentrated to the south and east along the coast and major rivers. Counties are delineated by color, making it clear that the larger counties within Louisiana and Mississippi were far less settled, with some areas of northern Mississippi even remaining nameless at the time. Coastal areas and river systems are drawn in great detail and the extent of marshlands are indicated, while mountain ranges are “abbreviated” with graphic cloud-like indications. To the west are indications of Arkansas Territory and Mexico with “Part of Texas.”

Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792–1868) founded one of the United States’ leading map publishing firms of the nineteenth century. The country’s growing population, expansion west, and a general increase of interest in geography created a healthy market for the map, atlas, and travel guide business. Mitchell’s first publication was A New American Atlas, issued in 1831. The company continued after Mitchell’ retirement in 1860, under the management of his son Samuel Augustus Mitchell Jr., until 1890.

Mitchell Sr. joined forces early on with the eminent engraver James Hamilton Young to create precise and graphically balanced maps. The Mitchell company’s use of new technologies as well as up-to-date cartographic information created an edge for their products. With some of their first publications, the firm pioneered the use of steel engraving for the production of maps.

In 1832, the Mitchell company issued a Travellers Guide Through the United States, A Map of the Roads, Distances, Steam Boat & Canal Routes &c. This publication proved so successful that it was issued a number of times. The company also followed with a series of “Tourist Pocket Maps” beginning in 1834. The present pocket map from 1835 includes the types of details found in the Travellers Guide, with its mileage markers along principal roads and waterways, and indexes of steamboat and stage routes.

Refs.: Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, pp. 303–304, 309–313; Schwartz and Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, p. 255; Tooley’s, pp. 260–261.

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