An extremely rare 1838 map of Illinois by Samuel Augustus Mitchell. It covers the state of Illinois along with parts of neighboring Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and the Wisconsin Territory. The map depicts a very early county configuration and notes towns, canals, railroads, rivers and a host of other important features.
This particular map is extremely scarce and unusual, as it is the first appearance of Mitchell's Illinois maps and predates Mitchell's partnership with Thomas Cowperthwait. An independent issue meant to accompany and illustrate the book Illinois in 1837, A sketch, all following maps of Illinois by Mitchell followed this template. This is also the earliest appearance of Mitchell's standard c.1850 border.
The map is copyrighted to 1837 with a secondary date of 1838. Engraved by J/ H. Young and ''Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1837 by S. A. Mitchell in the Clerks office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.' Issued as part of the book Illinois in 1837, A sketch, published in Philadelphia in 1837 by S. Augustus Mitchell and Grigg and Elliot.
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.
James Hamilton Young (December 18, 1792 - c. 1870) was a Scottish-American draughtsman, engraver, and cartographer active in Philadelphia during the first half of the 19th century. Young was born in Avondale, Lanark, Scotland and emigrated to the United States sometime before 1817. Young was a pioneer in American steel plate engraving, a process superior to copper plate engraving due to the increased durability of steel. His earliest known maps date to about 1817, when Young was 25. At the time he was partnered with William Kneass (1780 - 1840), as Kneass, Young and Company, an imprint that was active from 1817 to 1820. He then partnered with with George Delleker, publishing under the imprint of Young and Delleker, active from 1822 to 1823. Young engraved for numerous cartographic publishers in the Philadelphia area, including Anthony Finley, Charles Varle, and Samuel Augustus Mitchell, among others. His most significant work includes maps engraved for for Anthony Finley and later Samuel Augustus Mitchell. Mitchell proved to be Young's most significant collaborator. The pair published numerous maps from about 1831 well into the 1860s. Young retired sometime in the mid to late 1860s. In 1840 he registered a patent for an improved system of setting up typography for printing.
Mitchell, S. A., Illinois in 1837, 1837.
Very good. Printed on onion skin paper. Minor wear along original fold lines. Backed with archival tissue for stability. Minor overall toning and light foxing at places.