Auction 168, Lot 709

Carey's Famous 1814 General Atlas

"Carey's General Atlas, Improved and Enlarged: Being a Collection of Maps of the World and Quarters, Their Principal Empires, Kingdoms, &c.", Carey, Mathew

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1814 (published)

Publication:

Color: Hand Color

Size:
11.6 x 17.2 inches
29.5 x 43.7 cm

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 is the highly sought after 1814 edition of Carey’s General Atlas, and the first edition to use standard outline hand color. Carey first published the General Atlas in 1796 with several updates through the early 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1814 edition that the plates went through a major revision. This revision included updates based upon the discoveries of Lewis & Clark, and features many important engravings west of the Appalachian mountains including The State of Tennessee, Mississippi Territory, Louisiana and Missouri Territory Formerly Louisiana. This example contains 57 of the 58 issued maps, missing only the state of Ohio.

Cartographically, the map of Tennessee shows the state at an early point in its development with only twelve organized counties in the Mero and Washington Districts. The majority of the state is shown to be Cherokee tribal territory. The map depicts a few settlements, forts, trails, and roads, two of which venture out into Cherokee country toward the Tennessee River. The map of Louisiana is one of the earliest large format maps of the state to appear in a commercial atlas. There is very little development except along the Mississippi River. Further to the west is one of the earliest depictions of Missouri Territory, which was organized in 1812. It was published in the same year as Lewis & Clark's foundation map, and incorporates many of the new discoveries from that expedition along the Upper Missouri and Columbia rivers. The map notes a "probable" northern boundary from Puget Sound to Lake of the Woods, and a "probable" southern boundary extending from San Francisco Bay to the headwaters of the Rio Grande and then southeast to Galveston Bay.

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.

Folio, hardbound in quarter leather over tan boards.

References: Phillips (Atlases) #722; Sabin #10858; Ristow pp. 151-153.

Condition: B

Condition code is for the maps, which range from fair to very good with the vast majority being good. The atlas suffered some water damage and there is a dampstain occupying the top third of the sheets of the first half of the atlas. The stain dissipates at the important U.S. maps including Missouri and Mississippi territories, Tennessee and Kentucky (see images). There is some offsetting, occasional mildew stains, and a number of maps have fold separations entering the image at bottom. Those maps with lower fold separations include: the world (4"), eastern U.S. (7"), MA (4"), CT (2.5"), NY (3"), NJ (2" plus associated 3.5" tear), PA (1.5"), Mexico (2"), England/Wales (7"), Netherlands (3" plus associated 2" tear), Germany (10"), and France (9.5"). Covers are heavily worn and weakened from the water damage, but the spine is holding up with small chips to the head and tail.

Estimate: $4,500 - $5,500

Sold for: $3,000

Closed on 6/6/2018

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