A fine example of S. A. Mitchell's important 1854 map of Lower Canada or Quebec, Canada. Centered on the St. Lawrence River Valley, this map covers from Montreal to the mouth of the St. Lawrence, north as far as Lake St. John and south to the United States border. In the lower right quadrant, a large inset details the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. The whole is engraved and colored in Mitchell's distinctive style with green border work and vivid pastels. Political and topographical features are noted and color coded with elevation rendered by hachure.
With the signing of the 1854 Treaty of Reciprocity between the United States and Canada, this area experienced a period of sustained growth and prosperity. The increased international trade that flowed into Quebec via the Hudson Valley inspired popular interest in the region. Montreal, Three Rivers, and St. Francis in particular benefited from the cross-border trade.
This map was prepared by S. A. Mitchell for publication by the Philadelphia firm of Thomas Cowperthwait & Co. as plate no. 3 in the 1854 edition of Mitchell's New General Atlas. Dated and copyrighted, 'Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1850 by Thomas Cowperthwait & Co. in the Clerk's office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.'
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.
Mitchell, S. A., A New Universal Atlas Containing Maps of the various Empires, Kingdoms, States and Republics Of The World, (Thomas Cowperthwait & Co., Philadelphia) 1854.
Very good condition. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 0537.004 (1846 edition). Phillips (Atlases) 814.