Catalog Archive
Auction 145, Lot 127

Bellin's Seminal Map of the Great Lakes

"Carte des Lacs du Canada…", Bellin, Jacques Nicolas

Subject: Colonial United States & Canada, Great Lakes

Period: 1744 (dated)

Publication: Histoire et Description Generale de la Nouvelle France

Color: Black & White

17.2 x 11.2 inches
43.7 x 28.4 cm
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This is Bellin's important map of the Great Lakes, which was issued in Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix's Histoire et Description Generale de la Nouvelle France. Possibly Bellin's most important map, it covers the entire Great Lakes region, depicting the river system, and identifying numerous forts, Indian tribes and place names. Most notably, this is the first map to introduce the fictitious islands of Philippeux, Pontchartrain, Maurepas, and St. Anne in Lake Superior. These spurious islands would continue to appear on maps for the next 50 years, including John Mitchell's important map in the following decade. Despite these erroneous additions and the spurious mountain range in Michigan, Bellin's map is still considered to be one of the most accurate of the time period. Based upon Kershaw, this is the second state of the map, preceded only by a proof copy dated 1742.

Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix was a Jesuit explorer who traveled extensively in the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi River. His accounts of these areas had a substantial influence on many leaders of the day, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

References: Kershaw #947; Tooley (MCC-96) #716; Karpinski p. 137.

Condition: B

Issued folding on watermarked paper with light offsetting, several tiny wormholes only visible when held to light, and trimmed to neatline at bottom. Binding trim at right with a small binding tear that just enters the border and has been closed on verso with archival tape.

Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000

Sold for: $1,100

Closed on 6/12/2013