Catalog Archive
Auction 165, Lot 243

Rare, Early Map of Georgia with its Modern Boundary

"The State of Georgia", Carey, Mathew

Subject: Georgia

Period: 1818 (published)

Publication: Carey's General Atlas

Color: Hand Color

14.6 x 17.2 inches
37.1 x 43.7 cm
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Mathew Carey was a seminal figure in early American publishing; establishing the first publishing firm to specialize in cartography and issuing the first atlas devoted exclusively to American maps. He set up an elaborate cottage system of craftsmen for compiling, engraving, printing, and coloring maps. This practice was emulated by later American cartographic publishers such as John Melish and Henry S. Tanner. The American Atlas concept was also adopted by other publishers in both the United States and Europe.

This 1818 issue of Carey's map of Georgia is from the rare, late 1818 revised edition of the General Atlas. Two editions of the General Atlas were published in 1818, the first simply bearing the date "1818" on the title page, with the latter noted as "Third Edition Improved" and dated "June 12, 1818." Changes were made to a number of American maps in the June 1818 edition, however none were so great as the changes on the Georgia map. Examples of this map from the early 1818 edition are nearly identical to the earlier Carey portrayals from 1814-17. Only a few copies of the June 1818 edition of the General Atlas or individual examples of the Georgia map from that edition can be located. After the late 1818 edition, Carey's plates were transferred to Robert Desilver, who re-issued the Georgia map in his atlases from 1822-27.

When published in 1814, this county map of Georgia was the first atlas map to depict the final "modern" boundary between Georgia and Mississippi Territory. Although Georgia had achieved statehood in 1788, its western border changed numerous times, with several modifications between 1804-12 after the creation of Mississippi Territory. In this late 1818 edition, "Mississippi Territory" is changed to Mississippi Territory now Alabama due to the creation of Alabama Territory in 1817 before being admitted to the Union in 1819. The southern boundary of Georgia is also no longer noted as the "Boundary of the United States," foreshadowing the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, and likely due to the fact that General Andrew Jackson had already invaded and occupied parts of Florida by mid-1818.

There are also numerous updates to the county configuration in this late 1818 edition, derived from the Eleazer Early wall map of Georgia, also issued in 1818. New counties have been added, including Wayne from part of Glynn, Emanuel from part of Montgomery, and Baldwin from part of Hancock. In addition, the county lines of every single county have been modified - many greatly so. The map does not yet show several counties that were established in December 1818, including Habersham, Hall, Gwinnett, Walton, Irwin, and Appling, all of which reduced the size of the Indian lands.

The organized portion of the state is confined to north of the Altamaha River and east of the Ocmulgee River. The remainder of the state is designated for the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Indians. A number of towns and roads are shown throughout the organized portion of the state, with just a few roads extending to the west, most passing through Buzzard Roost. The Okefenokee Swamp is illustrated along the East Florida border.

An important map for any Georgia collection.

References: Phillips (Atlases) #1373-20; cf. Rumsey #2721.025.

Condition: B+

Original outline color with light toning, offsetting, and a short centerfold separation in the left blank margin that has been closed on verso with archival tape.

Estimate: $1,900 - $2,300


Closed on 11/15/2017