Bonner's Landmark Map of Georgia
"[On 2 Sheets] Map of the State of Georgia Compiled Under the Direction of the General Assembly", Bonner, William G.
Period: 1859 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
26.5 x 62.4 inches
67.3 x 158.5 cm
Bonner's rare, landmark map of Georgia was the first detailed map of the state since Daniel Sturges' large-format Map of the State of Georgia, published in 1818. The need for a new and comprehensive map was clear with eager settlers rapidly occupying the former Creek and Cherokee lands of the western portion of the state. As such, the Georgia Assembly appropriated funds for the project, and William G. Bonner, a Georgia Civil Engineer, took on the task.
Bonner built his map primarily based upon existing information available at the then-state capital of Milledgeville. He also gathered important data from county officials, and this local flavor shows up in the place names he chose to include on the map like those of churches, schools, academies, courthouses, mills, grave sites, and more. Northern Georgia and western Carolina were the site of the first American gold rush which started in the 1820s-30s, and several place names elude to gold including Franklin Mines, Glade Mines, as well as a Marble Quarry. The U.S. Mint, established in 1835, is also shown within the gold region next to Dalhonega in Lumpkin County. A very small Atlanta is shown here at the intersection of three railroads - the Georgia Rail Road, Atlanta & West Point, and the Western & Atlantic. The map also highlights the recent boundary dispute with Florida, and depicts three different boundary lines by McNeil, Butts, and Crawford & Cooper. The boundary was settled at McNeil's line (Florida's claim) by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1854. Surrounding the map are 8 vignettes: Tuccoa Falls; Franklin College, Athens; Stone Mountain; Capitol at Milledgeville; Executive Mansion; Asylum for Lunacy Midway; Female College, Macon; Academy for the Blind, Macon. Drawn on an impressive scale of 6 miles per inch. The map consists of 6 sheets that have been joined into two. If completely joined, the map image would measure approximately 53 x 62". Printed by Rufus L. Barnes in Philadelphia.
The very rare Bonner map was first issued in 1847 with updated editions occurring in 1851, 1854, 1857 and 1859. This is either the 1857 or 1859 edition where the town plans have been substituted for additional vignettes and the decorative border has been updated. An unusual feature of this example is that the top portion of each joined sheet was apparently reused, with an image of the lower half of the state on verso (uncolored). Clearly the printer didn't want to waste paper, and either reused the stock of an older edition (suggesting circa 1859) or used sheets from mis-prints.
References: Phillips (Maps) p. 297.
The map is in remarkable condition given its size, with full original color. On the eastern sheet, there are minor edge tears at left that enter the image measuring 2.5", 0.75" and 0.5". The western sheet has several tiny chips and edge tears almost entirely confined to the right margin adjacent to the joint. Both sheets have edge chips and tears that are confined to the far blank margins.