The Constellations for each Month in the Year.
1856 (dated) 15 x 26.5 in (38.1 x 67.31 cm)
This rare hand colored map set depicting the stars of the northern and southern hemispheres was engraved W. G. Evans of New York for Burritt's 1856 edition of the Atlas to Illustrate the Geography of the Heavens. The pair of maps illustrates the night sky and constellations of both hemispheres. Constellations are drawn in detail and include depictions of the zodiacal figures the stars are said to represent. Included on these two charts are Ursa Major (Great Bear or Big Dipper), Usra Minor (the Little Bear or Little Dipper), Draco (the Dragono), Cassiopeia (the W), Perseus, Camelopardalis, and Cepheus in the Northern Hemisphere, and Hydra (the Snake), Dorado (the Sword Fish), Pavo (the Peacock) and the Centaur in the Southern Hemisphere. Both charts are quartered by lines indicating the Solstitial and equinoctial Colures. These maps, like all of Burritt's charts, are based on the celestial cartographic work of Pardies and Doppelmayr. Dated and copyrighted: 'Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1856 by F. J. Huntington in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.' This map was issued as plate no. VI and VII in the Mason Brother's 1856 edition of Atlas, Designed to Illustrate Burritt's Geography of the Heavens.
Elijah Burritt and F. J. Huntington produced their important Burritt's Geography of the Heavens out of their offices in Hartford, Connecticut, from approximately 1833 to 1856. The work, while primarily educational in nature, was the seminal American geography of the period. Much of the nomenclature they developed, especially regarding the visible stars and constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, is still in use today. The Atlas itself consisted of eight charts depicting the Heavens seasonally and hemispherically. Constellations were depicted figurally though only the most important stars were noted. The Geography of the Heavens was the last decorative Celestial reference in the 19th century. Burrit's Geography was among the most prized possessions of fantasy / horror writer H.P. Lovecraft who wrote:
"My maternal grandmother, who died when I was six, was a devoted lover of astronomy, having made that a specialty at Lapham Seminary, where she was educated; and though she never personally showed me the beauties of the skies, it is to her excellent but somewhat obsolete collection of astronomical books that I owe my affection for celestial science. Her copy of Burritt's Geography of the Heavens is today the most prized volume in my library." (to Maurice W. Moe, 1 January 1915)
As a side note Elijah Burritt is the brother of the more famous Elihu Burritt, who was known for his philanthropic and social work.
Brothers Mason, Atlas, Designed to Illustrate Burritt's Geography of the Heavens, New York, 1856.
Very good. Minor age toning. Verso repair along edges, not extending over printed areas. Minor spotting at a couple of places. Blank on verso. Set of two maps.
Rumsey 2853.004 (1835 edition). Kidwell, Peggy Aldrich, Elijah Burritt and the 'Geography of the Heavens.', Sky & Telescope 69 (Jan 1985).