This hand colored map is a copper plate engraving, dating to 1849 by the legendary American Mapmaker S.A. Mitchell, the elder. It represents the state of Florida. This historically important map is extremely rare as it existed only in the 1849 edition of the Mitchell's Universal Atlas. There are inset maps of Tallahassee, Pensacola and St. Augustine. The Saint Augustine map includes depth sounding of the harbor and Matanzas River. All swamps are carefully shown, as are the many roads that seem to disappear into them. Above and below the map there are charts depicting relative distances between towns via canal, river, and sea. Political boundaries as well as major rivers, territories, and counties are carefully labeled. Also included are major canals, explorer's routes, roads, trading posts, and extant & proposed railroads. Further, all notable mountains, passes, and even important trading posts are labeled, as are bodies of water, rivers, mountains, islands, and sub regions. Most major national and local political distinctions are outlined and defined by vibrant color: reds, greens, yellows & browns. This map is dated and copyrighted, 1849. This stunning map is a copperplate engraving and was once part of the great 1849 edition of Mitchell's Universal Atlas. This is one of the first atlases Mitchell ever produced and perhaps the finest 19th century American Atlas ever made! These rare maps with their elaborate green and purple had painted borders, bright colors, extraordinary detail, and fine engraving almost never appear in galleries.
Samuel Augustus Mitchell (March 20, 1792 - December 20, 1868) began his map publishing career in the early 1830s. Having worked as a school teacher, 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.