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1865 Johnson's Map of India (Hindostan or British India)


Price:   $$$ (item sold)


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Title:    Johnsonís Hindostan or British India.

Description:    A very nice example of A. J. Johnsonís 1865 map of India and Southeast Asia. Covers from the Indus River eastward to include all of India, Burma, Siam (Thailand), Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia (Malacca) and Vietnam (Tonquin and Chochin). Also includes parts of Pakistan, Nepal, China, Bhutan, Sumatra and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Offers color coding according to country and region as well as notations regarding roadways, cities, towns, and river systems. Three inset maps focus on the Island of Bombay (Mumbai), Madras, and Calcutta. An view of the Government House and Treasury in Calcutta adorns the upper left corner. Features the fretwork style border common to Johnsonís atlas work from 1864 to 1869. Published by A. J. Johnson and Ward as plate number 96 in the 1865 edition of Johnsonís New Illustrated Family Atlas. This is the first edition of the Johnson Atlas to be attributed to Johnson exclusively.

Date:    1864 (undated)

Source:    Johnson, A. J., Johnson's New Illustrated Family Atlas of The World with Physical Geography, and with Descriptions Geographical, Statistical, and Historic including The Latest Federal Census, A Geographical Index, and a Chronological History of the Civil War in America, 1865.

References:    Rumsey 2905.052. Phillips (atlases) 6104.

Cartographer:    Alvin Jewett Johnson (September 23, 1827 - April 22, 1884) was a prolific American map publisher active from 1856 to the mid-1880s. Johnson was born into a poor family in Wallingford, Vermont where he received only a based public education. He is known to have worked as school teacher for several years before moving to Richmond, Virginia. Johnson got his first taste of the map business and a salesman and book canvasser for J. H. Colton and company. The earliest Johnson maps were published with D. Griffing Johnson (no clear relation) and date to the mid-1850s, however it was not until 1860 that the Johnson firm published its first significant work, the Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas. The publication of the Family Atlas followed a somewhat mysterious 1859 deal with the well-established but financially strapped J. H. Colton cartographic publishing firm. Although map historian Water Ristow speculates that Colton sold his copyrights to Johnson and his business partner, another Vermonter named Ross C. Browning (1832 - 1899), a more likely theory is that Johnson and Browning financially supported the Colton firm in exchange for the right to use Colton's existing copyrighted map plates. Regardless of which scenario actually occurred it is indisputable that the first Johnson atlas maps were mostly reissues of earlier Colton maps. Early on Johnson described his firm as the "Successors to J. H. Colton and Company". Johnson's business strategy involved transferring the original Colton steel plate engravings to cheaper lithographic stones, allowing his firm to produce more maps at a lower price point. In 1861, following the outbreak of the American Civil War the Johnson and Browning firm moved their office from Richmond, Virginia to New York City. Johnson and Browning published two editions of the Johnson Atlas in 1860 and 1861. Sometime in 1861 Browning's portion of the firm was purchased by Benjamin P. Ward, whose name subsequently replaced Browning's on the imprint. The 1863 issue of the Family Atlas was one of the most unusual, it being a compilation of older Johnson and Browning maps, updated 1862 Johnson and Ward map issues, and newer 1863 maps with a revised border design. The 1864 issue of the Family Atlas is the first true Johnson and Ward atlas. Johnson published one more edition of the atlas in partnership with Ward in 1865, after which Johnson seems to have bought out Ward's share the firm. The next issue of the Atlas, 1866, is the first purely "Johnson" atlas with all new map plates, updated imprints, and copyrights. The Family Atlas went through roughly 27 years of publication, from 1860 to 1887, outliving Johnson himself who died in 1884. Johnson maps from the Family Atlas are notable for their unique borders, of which there are four different designs, the "strapwork borer" from 1860 to 1863, the "fretwork border" from 1863 to 1869 and the "spirograph border" in 1870 Ė 1882, and a more elaborate version of the same from 1880-1887. In addition to the Family Atlas Johnson issued numerous wall maps, pocket maps, and in the 1880s the Cyclopedia. Johnson maps are known for their size, accuracy, detail, and stunning, vivid hand coloring. Johnson maps, purely American in their style and execution, chronicle some of the most important and periods in American history including the Civil War, the Westward Expansion, and the Indian Wars. Today Johnson's maps, especially those of the American west, are highly sought after by map collectors and historians. Click here for a list of rare maps by A. J. Johnson.

Size:   Printed area measures 13 in height x 17 inches in width (33.02 x 43.18 centimeters)

Condition:    Very good condition. Typical overall toning. Text on verso.

Code:   India-johnson-1865 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 19/12/2014



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