Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 794

First Edition of Tanner's Universal Atlas - Complete

"A New Universal Atlas Containing Maps of the Various Empires, Kingdoms, States and Republics of the World...", Tanner, Henry Schenck

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1836 (published)


Color: Hand Color

13 x 16.1 inches
33 x 40.9 cm
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This is the complete, first edition of Tanner's important New Universal Atlas, and was issued in order to appeal to a broader market than his earlier and more costly American Atlas. It was originally offered in parts (to keep the cost low to subscribers) and subsequently offered as an entire volume. The present example appears to have been compiled by a subscriber as there is evidence of the blue paper wrappers along the gutter of a few maps. The American maps are dated 1833-36 and the non-American maps are undated. This complete example contains a total of 69 atlas sheets, with 30 maps dedicated to North America including city plans of New York, Philadelphia and Washington, and the balance featuring South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The atlas concludes with the thematic Heights of the Principle Mountains in the World.

Of particular interest is the map of the Southwest entitled Mexico & Guatemala, which shows Texas as still a part of Mexico with Austins Colony noted. Sonora extends north into present-day Utah and is wedged between New Mexico and Upper California. The rivers Timpanogos and San Buenaventura run straight through the Great Basin into the Pacific. Insets include the Valley of Mexico and Guatemala. The map presents a great picture of the region prior to Texas declaring its independence.

Also of interest is the map of Florida, which depicts a large Indian Reservation in the center of the peninsula and is marked by an Indian Boundary Line to the west and south and an Unidentified Indian Boundary Line to the east. Several land grants are also noted, including those of Arredondo, Miranda, Delespine, and Fleming, which had been granted by the Spanish government prior to ceding the territory of Florida to the United States in 1821. Other notable maps include Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, and Michigan.

Contents include a decorative title page, author's note, table of contents, maps and plans, advertisements. Title page has engraved "First Landing of Columbus in the New World" with his three ships in the background. Rebacked in quarter leather and tips over original marbled boards with original spine backstrip present.

Henry Schenck Tanner was one of the principal figures during the American "Golden Age of Cartography" (1820-40). His New Universal Atlas set the standard and his work enjoyed lasting commercial success as the publishing rights were bought by Carey & Hart from 1843-45, Samuel Augustus Mitchell from 1846-50, Thomas, Cowperthwait & Company from 1850-55, and Charles Desilver from 1856-58.

References: Phillips (Atlases) #774; Ristow pp. 191-206.

Condition: B+

The maps are generally very good with occasional light toning, minor staining and/or light foxing. The atlas has no tears with the exception of the world map that has a 2.5" edge tear at right that has been closed on both recto and verso with archival tape. The title page has light foxing, a damp stain at top right, and some tissue reinforcement along the sheet edges. The author's notice, table of contents, and index have large chips at the bottom of the sheets, with the latter two having been reattached with some minor text loss. Rebacked with original spine strip pasted on and new leather tips. Original boards are heavily worn.

Estimate: $7,000 - $8,500


Closed on 9/11/2019