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2006 Catalog > Samuel Augustus Mitchell / J. H. Young, Map of the U.S.

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Samuel A. Mitchell’s First Original Cartographic Production
A particularly fine example with gorgeous color

26. Samuel Augustus Mitchell / J. H. Young. “Map of the United States by J. H. Young ” (Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Oct. 10th, 1831). First edition. Steel-plate-engraved folding case map with gorgeous, full, original hand color and acanthus-leaf border. 42 x 33 3/4" at border. Sheet size: 43 x 34 5/8". Exceptionally ornate engraved title cartouche bearing the Nation’s seal, images of commerce and travel, all surmounted by an eagle. Numerous fine insets. With original 8vo marbled board covers, one-quarter morocco leather, leather corners, and tooled leather label with embossed title: “Traveller’s Map of the United States.” Margins a bit close, but ample. In fine original condition with outstanding full color.

Price: SOLD.

The rare first edition of Samuel Mitchell’s first original separately issued publication represents several important milestones in the history of American cartography. The map catapulted the Mitchell firm to a position of dominance in American commercial map making, a position the company would retain for much of the nineteenth century. It represented the inaugural effort of the long and fruitful alliance between Mitchell and his superb engraver James H. Young, who was renowned for his precise, up-to-date, and graphically balanced maps. Finally, it was likely the first large-scale map to have been steel-engraved, the advantages of which are evident in fine clarity of the map’s many details and features. The map covers the eastern half of the United States as far west as the Missouri Territory and includes an excellent large inset of North America displaying “all the recent Geographical Discoveries.” Many embellishments contribute to the visual richness: six insets of cities and their environs, comparative mountain heights and river and canal lengths, population statistics, and a finely engraved vignette above the title cartouche with an American eagle and the modes of transportation that made western expansion possible. Mitchell’s first production is a formidable and beautiful one, as well as a significant work of nineteenth-century Americana and American map making at a formative stage in the history of the United States.

Refs.: Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 309; Rumsey, 2723.

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