This item has been sold, but you can get on the Waitlist to be notified if another example becomes available, or purchase a digital scan.

1866 Mitchell Map of Africa

Map of Africa, Showing its most Recent Discoveries. - Main View

1866 Mitchell Map of Africa



Map of Africa, Showing its most Recent Discoveries.
  1860 (dated)     11 x 13.5 in (27.94 x 34.29 cm)     1 : 37000000


This is a beautiful example of S. A. Mitchell Jr.'s 1866 map of Africa and St. Helena. It covers the continent in considerable detail considering the level to which it was explored at the time. One of the early Mitchell series to depict Lake Victoria, the existence of which was only confirmed by Stanley in 1862. Though the copyright was not updated, presumably Mitchell must have altered the plate sometime in 1863 to reflect the discovery of Victoria. Also notes the outflow of Ripon Falls, the source of the Nile. European colonies and outposts dot the coastlines and the great Arab caravan routes across the Sahara are noted. Inset in the lower left quadrant features the remote island of St. Helena. Color coded with red, green, and yellow pastels according to political divisions. The whole is surrounded by the attractive floral border common to Mitchell atlases between 1860 and 1866.

One of the more attractive atlas maps of Africa to appear in the mid-19th century. Prepared by S. A. Mitchell Jr. for inclusion as plate 83 in the 1866 issue of Mitchell's New General Atlas. Like many American map publishers of this period, Mitchell did not regularly update his copyright, consequently this map is dated and copyrighted to 1860: 'Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1860 by S. Augustus Mitchell Jr. in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the U.S. for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.'


Samuel Augustus Mitchell (March 20, 1792 - December 20, 1868) began his map publishing career in the early 1830s. Mitchell was born in Bristol, Connecticut. He relocated to Philadelphia in 1821. Having worked as a school teacher and a geographical writer, Mitchell was frustrated with the low quality and inaccuracy of school texts of the period. His first maps were an attempt to rectify this problem. In the next 20 years Mitchell would become the most prominent American map publisher of the mid-19th century. Mitchell worked with prominent engravers J. H. Young, H. S. Tanner, and H. N. Burroughs before attaining the full copyright on his maps in 1847. In 1849 Mitchell either partnered with or sold his plates to Thomas, Cowperthwait and Company who continued to publish the Mitchell's Universal Atlas. By about 1856 most of the Mitchell plates and copyrights were acquired by Charles Desilver who continued to publish the maps, many with modified borders and color schemes, until Mitchell's son, Samuel Augustus Mitchell Junior, entered the picture. In 1859, S.A. Mitchell Jr. purchased most of the plates back from Desilver and introduced his own floral motif border. From 1860 on, he published his own editions of the New General Atlas. The younger Mitchell became as prominent as his father, publishing maps and atlases until 1887, when most of the copyrights were again sold and the Mitchell firm closed its doors for the final time. More by this mapmaker...


Mitchell Jr., S. A., Mitchell's New General Atlas, Containing Maps Of The Various Countries Of The World, Plans Of Cities, Etc. Embraced In Forty-Seven Quarto Maps, Forming A Series Of Seventy-Six Maps And Plans, Together With Valuable Statistical Tables, 1866 edition.    


Very good. Minor toning and foxing at places.


Rumsey 0565.043 (1860 edition). Phillips (Atlases) 831-16. New York Public Library, Map Division, 1510838.