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1835 Hall Map of the United States


United States.
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Title:    United States.

Description:    A beautiful example of Sidney Hall's 1835 map of the United States. Hall's map covers the United States from the Atlantic seaboard westward as far as Oregon and the Pacific and from the Great Lakes southwards to southern Florida. Florida and Oregon are reserved as insets appearing in the lower left and right quadrants, respectively. As this map predates the Mexican American War and the annexation of Texas, Upper California and Texas are not yet part of the United States. An early state and territorial configuration is presented with Arkansas extending from the Mississippi to Texas, a unified Virginia, and Wisconsin identified as the Northwest Territory, embracing modern day Minnesota. The vast territory explored by Louis and Clark is here identified as the Missouri Territory. Hall, as C. Wheat notes in Mapping the Transmississippi West, closely followed Louis and Clark (with the 'Stinking water'). Curiously Hall's concedes all of British Columbia to the United States as far north as 54 40', a highly unusual move for a British cartographer. In the first half of the 19th century the Pacific Northwest was the last frontier in the century's long slaughter of the American beaver in the name of European fashion. Both the British, in the name of the Hudson Bay Company, and the Americans, championed by John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company, were eager to claim monopolistic right over the region. Astor's establishment of Fort Astoria on the Columbia River, marked here but not specifically named, only served to further tensions with the Northwest Company - the Pacific subsidiary of the Hudson Bay Company. The dispute escalated, giving rise to the Oregon Boundary Dispute and the American expansionist slogan 'Fifty-four Forty or Fight!' The dispute was not resolved until the 1846 Oregon Treaty which, through concessions on both sides, formally set the boundary at the 49th parallel. The name 'Oregon', we note, appears nowhere on this map.

Sidney Hall's New General Atlas was published from 1830 to 1857, the first edition being the most common, with all subsequent editions appearing only rarely. Most of the maps included in the first edition of this atlas were drawn between 1827 and 1828 and are most likely steel plate engravings, making it among the first cartographic work to employ this technique. Each of the maps in this large and impressive atlas feature elegant engraving and an elaborate keyboard style border. Though this is hardly the first map to employ this type of border, it is possibly the earliest to use it on such a large scale. Both the choice to use steel plate engraving and the addition of the attractive keyboard boarder are evolutions of anti-forgery efforts. Copper plates, which were commonly used for printing bank notes in the early 19th century, proved largely unsuitable due to their overall fragility and the ease with which they could be duplicated. In 1819 the Bank of England introduced a 20,000 prize for anyone who could devise a means to print unforgeable notes. The American inventors Jacob Perkins and Asa Spencer responded to the call. Perkins discovered a process for economically softening and engraving steel plates while Spencer invented an engraving lathe capable of producing complex patters repetitively - such as this keyboard border. Though Perkins and Spenser did not win the prize, their steel plate engraving technique was quickly adopted by map publishers in England, who immediately recognized its value. Among early steel plate cartographic productions, this atlas, published in 1830 by Longman Rees, Orme, Brown & Green stands out as perhaps the finest. This map was issued by Sidney Hall and published by Longman Rees, Orme, Brown & Green of Paternoster Row, London, in the 1835 edition of the Sidney Hall New General Atlas.


Date:    1835 (undated)

Source:    Hall, S., A New General Atlas, with the Divisions and Boundaries, 1835.    

References:    Rumsey 4224.045 (1830 edition). Philips (Atlases) 758. Wheat, C.I., Mapping the Transmississippi West, no. 385-6.

Cartographer:    Sidney Hall (1788 - 1831) was an English engraver and map publisher active in London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His earliest imprints, dating to about 1814, suggest a partnership with Michael Thomson, another prominent English map engraver. Hall engraved for most of the prominent London map publishers of his day, including Aaron Arrowsmith, William Faden, William Harwood, and John Thomson, among others. Hall is credited as being one of the earliest adopters of steel plate engraving, a technique that allowed for finer detail and larger print runs due to the exceptional hardness of the medium. Upon his early death - he was only in his 40s - Hall's business was inherited by his wife, Selina Hall, who continued to publish under the imprint, "S. Hall", presumably for continuity. The business eventually passed to Sidney and Selina's nephew Edward Weller, who became extremely prominent in his own right. Click here for a list of rare maps by Sidney Hall.

Size:   Printed area measures 21 x 17 inches (53.34 x 43.18 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 6336000

Condition:    Very good. Minor wear and verso repair along origianl centerfold. Original platemark visible. Some offsetting. Blank on verso.

Code:   UnitedStates-hall-1835 (to order by phone call: 646-384-4040)


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