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2008 Catalog > 9. Peck & Messinger, State of Illinois

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9. J. M. Peck & John Messinger. “New Sectional Map of the State of Illinois” (New York: J. H. Colton & Co., 1852). Lithographed pocket map on bank note paper with intense original full and outline hand color and fabulous, wide decorative border. 38 x 24" at neat line. Sheet: 41 1/2 x 27 1/4". Together with 16mo embossed red leather covers, title in gilt: “Colton & Co.’s Map of Illinois Exhibiting the Sections by Peck & Messinger.” Two insets: “Vicinity of Galena, the Lead Region and Part of Wisconsin and Iowa” and “Vicinity of Alton & St. Louis.” A couple of very faint spots. Overall, fine with outstanding color.

Price: SOLD [ Order ]

This grand and spectacular pocket map of Illinois by Peck and Messinger is quite scarce. Originally published by the Colton company in 1835 and revised yearly as new information appeared, it shows the evolution of settlement and development of Illinois by the mid-eighteenth century. Early settlement began in the south part of the state and quickly spread northward. By the 1850s, settlement had blanketed the entire state and railroads connected every major city. Chicago had gained prominence as a rail hub, as well as a lake and canal port. The city was soon to become the state's dominant metropolis.

Click for image of leather cover

The map is colored by county, and its grand scale of 10 miles to an inch enables an impressive amount of information to be presented. The map’s title elaborates its details, listing “internal improvements, distances between towns, villages, and post offices, the outlines of prairies, woodlands, marshes.”

Between 1831 and 1890, map and atlas publishing in the United States was dominated by the companies founded by S. A. Mitchell of Philadelphia and Joseph H. Colton, later G. W. Colton, of New York. Colton was a genius in the business of commercial publishing rather than a trained cartographer. By 1855, he had found a niche by transferring steel-plate engravings to lithographic stones or zinc plates, thereby ensuring larger runs for his publications. In addition to the famous Colton atlas, the firm issued many popular gazetteers and guides, of which the present pocket map of Illinois is an excellent example.

The pocket format of this sectional map provided both the traveler and the resident of Illinois with the most up-to-date and portable information possible, especially regarding transportation in and around the state. The example offered here is in remarkably good condition considering the way in which it would have been used. The original color is especially impressive.

Refs.: Phillips, Maps, p. 329 (1870 and 1875 eds.); Bristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, pp. 313–326.

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