Auction 139, Lot 758

"New Universal Atlas Containing Maps of the Various Empires, Kingdoms, States and Republics of the World…", Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1853 (published)


Color: Hand Color

14.3 x 17.5 inches
36.3 x 44.5 cm

The title continues "With a special map of each of the United States, Plans of Cities &c. Comprehended in seventy five sheets and forming a series of one hundred and twenty two Maps Plans and Sections." This famous and highly sought after atlas is complete with 75 map sheets of the world, North America and the other continents, Oceanica, the United States and its territories, and numerous city plans. The atlas concentrates mainly on the American continents, and features many important and desirable maps.

The map of Texas is one of the most influential atlas maps of the period. It depicts the new boundaries that were determined by the Compromise of 1850. The organized counties extend only to Cooke in the north and Kinney in the southwest. The western edge of the frontier is marked with a line of army forts separating the settled region from the vast area noted as rolling table lands and desolate plains Destitute of Timber. This area is largely the range of Apache, Kiowa, Comanche and Lipan Indians. Wagon roads, springs, and trails are identified, including the Comanche War Trail, Connelly's Trail and the Emigrant's Route. Tiny flags locate important battlefields in both the Texas war for independence and the Mexican American war. Descriptive explanations and notes make this map an interesting study. A table provides statistics according to the Census of 1850 including the population by ethnic groups, e.g. "Free Colored males" is given as 171. There are insets of Northern Texas, noting the northern boundary at Lat. 36° 30', as resolved in the Compromise of 1850, and the vicinity of Galveston City.

The spectacular map of the West has a large Oregon territory extending to the Continental Divide, the huge Utah Territory extends from California to Indian Territory, and New Mexico occupies all of the Southwest with a pre-Gadsden Purchase border. The double-page map of the United States features the same borders in the West, plus a large inset map of the "Gold Region of California." The map of Minnesota features the large territories of Pembina and Dahkotah extending to the Missouri River. The frontispiece is a hand colored, engraved diagram showing the lengths of rivers and heights of mountains. The title page includes a fine chromolithographic image titled "First Landing of Columbus in the New World."

Folio, frontis, chromolithographed pictorial title page depicting Columbus' arrival in the New World, table of contents printed in red and gilt color, 75 map sheets comprising 73 single-page maps, 1 double-page map and the thematic plate. Bound in half brown leather over marbled paper boards. Brown leather label on front cover with gilt title and design. Published by Thomas, Cowperthwait, & Co. No. 253 Market Street, Philadelphia. This is an increasingly difficult to find atlas complete with all its maps.


Condition: B+

The maps are in good to very good condition. There is a damp stain in the upper margin that is present throughout, but only extends beyond the neatline in a handful of maps. There is isolated foxing and the pages are uniformly lightly toned. The covers are bumped and worn but professionally conserved with new spine and hinge.

Estimate: $1,800 - $2,300

Sold for: $1,300

Closed on 2/15/2012