Auction 135, Lot 167

"Disturnell's New Map of the United States and Canada Showing All the Canals, Rail Roads, Telegraph Lines and Principal Stage Routes", Burr, Henry A.

Subject: Eastern United States

Period: 1851 (dated)


Color: Black & White

25.5 x 21.3 inches
64.8 x 54.1 cm

David H. Burr was a tremendously important figure in the mapping of the United States. He began his career surveying in New York in 1829. Beginning in 1833 he served as topographer of the United States Post Office, then Geographer for the House of Representatives, surveyor to the states of Florida and Louisiana, Geographer to the U.S. Senate and finally as Surveyor General of Utah Territory during the legal and jurisdictional disputes between Mormon leaders and the U.S. government.

When in 1836 David left as Topographer to the Post Office, his brother Henry A. Burr took over the position. Henry retained this title until his death in 1863. His cartographic output did not match his brother's, but he is known to have made the map "Disturnell's New Map of the United States and Canada Showing All the Canals, Rail Roads, Telegraph Lines and Principal Stage Routes" in the early 1850s.

This map was drawn by Henry A. Burr, Topographer to the Post Office Department and engraved by J.M. Atwood. The map details railroad and stage routes, telegraph lines, canals, watershed, and unfinished railroads in the eastern United States and along the border in Canada. The map is still with the original booklet Disturnell's American and European Railway and Steamship Guide (4 x 6.3"), 168 pp, three folding maps including plans of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston on a singe sheet, and the large Map of the Railways in Central Europe (15 x 12.8"). The booklet is filled with information aimed at the tourist market, including rail and canal routes, steam boat and packet ship routes to and from Europe, where to obtain a passport in London, location of foreign consuls in New York, and more. OCLC locates only 3 examples, all of which contain only 2 maps.


Condition: B

The map has some fold intersection splits, one fold split at left, toned along some folds and with some scattered light foxing. The back cover and Disturnell map are together detached from the book. The spine is perished with the first few pages loose.

Estimate: $300 - $500

Sold for: $200

Closed on 2/16/2011