Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 792

Complete Example of Carey & Lea's Atlas

"A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas, Being a Guide to the History of North and South America, and the West Indies...", Carey & Lea

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1822 (published)


Color: Hand Color

12.3 x 17.9 inches
31.2 x 45.5 cm
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This attractive and complete atlas was issued at the beginning of the golden age of American cartography in Philadelphia. It includes all 53 called for plates and include maps and tables of North America, South America, the United States and the West Indies. Following Le Sage's model, each of the maps is surrounded by text including economic, political, social and historical data. Of particular interest are the following maps:

United States of America (21.1 x 16.9"). This map of the United States extends west to the Rocky Mountains and provides a detailed view of the region based on information from the expeditions of Lewis & Clark and Pike. A notation at the western edge of the map shows where "Clarks Canoes stop 3000 miles from the Mississippi." The Missouri Territory takes in the entire northern plains region from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains. The new state of Missouri is presented with preliminary boundaries and Arkansas is shown at its largest extent. Today's Minnesota and Wisconsin are here a part of North West Territory. In Texas there are a few place names including Ft. Matagorda, but Galveston is poorly located. Texas and the Southwest are a part of Mexico. One of the most interesting features of the map is the river system in the West, near the Highest Peak, where the headwaters of several major rivers all originate within a few miles of one another - Red River of California (Colorado), Multnomah (Willamette), Rio del Norte (Rio Grande), Arkansaw (Arkansas), and the Platte. This edition includes a notation in the Gulf of Mexico explaining the sources of the map and noting that recent surveys made by Major Long have been incorporated where "the mistakes were very palpable." Engraved by Benjamin Tanner.

Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Arkansas Territory (14.7 x 14.5"). For this commercial atlas version of the seminal Stephen Long report map, Carey & Lea chose a single sheet format at a reduced scale with the political boundaries highlighted in color. This is one of the most important maps of the American West, which Wheat calls the "most interesting map in this Atlas." It covers the Missouri River Basin north to the Mandan villages and west to the Rocky Mountains. Long's map corrected a number of geographical inaccuracies, foremost the erroneous course of the Red River. As on Long's manuscript map the "Highest Peak," James Peak, and Spanish Peaks appear and the route of his expeditions are clearly delineated. South of the Republican Fork appears the significant legend that reads "The Great Desert is frequented by roving bands of Indians who have no fixed place of residence but roam from place to place in quest of game"; this is a change from Long's report map, where he famously referred to the "Great American Desert." Engraved by Young & Delleker.

Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Michigan Territory (10.6 x 14.5"). This is the first separate map of Michigan Territory. There is no development and little detail with the exception of a few forts and towns along the coast of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, and a new settlementon the Saganaw River. Ft Brown and Camp Smith are also located south of Green Bay, which was at this time a part of Michigan Territory. The Indian Line separates the territory roughly in half, with four counties named, but undesignated, in the southern section. There are notes locating portages and Fertile Land. There is a road shown connecting Ft Wayne, Indiana with Mt. Clemens. Two panels of English text flank the map providing fascinating details of the new territory and noting the total population at 8,896.

Beautifully rebound in black quarter leather with tips over marbled boards with gilt titles on front cover and spine.

References: Phillips (Atlases) #1373a; Wheat (TMW) #348 & #352; Karpinski #91.

Condition: B+

The maps and tables are generally very good with occasional light toning, offsetting, and minor stains. There are occasional minor tears or edge chips that have been repaired with archival tissue on verso. Modern binding is pristine.

Estimate: $5,000 - $6,500

Sold for: $6,000

Closed on 9/11/2019