Auction 163, Lot 433

Complete First Edition of the First Gazetteer of the United States

"The United States Gazetteer: Containing an Authentic Description of the Several States Their Situation, Extent, Boundaries, Soil, Produce, Climate, Population, Trade and Manufactures...", Scott, Joseph

Subject: Geography Books

Period: 1795 (published)


Color: Black & White

4.2 x 6.9 inches
10.7 x 17.5 cm

Joseph Scott was a Philadelphia engraver and publisher who engraved a number of important early state maps for Matthew Carey, a fellow Philadelphian. In 1795, Scott published the United States Gazetteer, which was the first compilation of state and territory maps issued in the United States (19 in total). Scott engraved all of the maps, as he explains in his preface: "The maps I have drawn and engraved myself, and I trust they will be found, on examination, as accurate as circumstances would admit, and probably more so than any collection of maps that has hitherto been published in the United States." His maps represent some of the earliest published maps of individual states and the western territory (here N.W. Territory and S.W. Territory), and were drawn, of course, with Philadelphia as the prime meridian. The associated text includes substantive information on the young Republic, with details on the history, geography, natural history, architecture, and more of individual states and regions. This example is complete and contains a folding map of the United States at the front of the volume and 18 smaller maps interspersed in the text including: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, N.W. Territory, S.W. Territory, Vermont, Virginia. Of particular interest are:

A Map of the United States (14.8 x 10.8") extends to the Mississippi River with a large Louisiana to its west. Georgia extends all the way Mississippi and Tennessee is S.W. Territory. A number of Bounty Land Grants are shown in the huge North West Territory, including those of the Illinois Company, New Jersey Company, Wabash Company, Colonel Simmes, Donation Lands from the State of Virginia, and more. The Seven Ranges also appear in eastern Ohio.

The map N.W. Territory (7.2 x 6.0") is the earliest printed map to show the North West Territory. It covers the region of the upper Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes, and shows the rivers and streams together with settlements, mines, and forts. Lit. Fort appears at the mouth of the Chicago River, and Old Ft. Orleans appears on the Missouri River. The southern end of Lake Michigan is placed almost a full degree further north than the southern shore of Lake Erie, an error that resulted in a series of boundary disputes between Michigan and its neighbors in the 19th century. The fictitious Charlevoix-Bellin islands appear in Lake Superior. This is the first state with small, plain circle icons to locate the towns like Detroit and Sandusky.

The map S.W. Territory (7.3 x 6.0") is the first state; later states of this map change the title to "Tennassee." While simply drawn, the map includes interesting information including the locations of early settlements, military reservations, and Indian villages. The Mero district is located and divided into three counties: Sumner, Davidson, and Tennassee. Nashville is here called Naskville. Fort Massac is shown on the Ohio River, and there is a note near Knoxville describing the way to Pensacola as being nearly level. The map includes a portion of the adjoining states of Kentucky and Georgia.

19 maps; title page; iii-vi; errata; 292 pp. (unpaginated). 12mo, rebound in brown faux leather with black label and tooling on spine. Published by F. and R. Bailey in Philadelphia.

References: Howes #S237; Sabin #78331; Ristow, p. 154.

Condition: B

The large folding map of the United States has light scattered foxing and has been backed with tissue to reinforce and repair a number of short fold separations. The small folding maps have light toning, scattered foxing and offsetting, and occasional dampstaining. Text is moderately toned and foxed. New binding has minimal shelf wear.

Estimate: $3,250 - $4,000

Sold for: $2,400

Closed on 6/14/2017