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1861 Mitchell Map of Michigan and Wisconsin

County Map of Michigan, and Wisconsin. - Main View

1861 Mitchell Map of Michigan and Wisconsin


Illustrates the ever-expanding rail network in the region.



County Map of Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  1860 (dated)     11.25 x 14 in (28.575 x 35.56 cm)     1 : 3300000


This is an 1861 Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Jr. map of Michigan and Wisconsin. The map depicts the region from Minnesota and Iowa to Canada, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie and from Lake Superior to Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The railroad network in the region is illustrated in detail, though none of the routes are labeled. One such route most likely belongs to the Michigan Central Railroad, which was originally incorporated in 1837 to run between Detroit and St. Joseph, on Lake Michigan. The original organization, named the Detroit and St. Joseph Railroad, quickly went bankrupt and was purchased by the State of Michigan, who renamed it the Central Railroad of Michigan. In 1846 the company was reprivatized and renamed the Michigan Central Railroad. By 1861, the Michigan Central Railroad had rectified all previous problems created by its turbulent beginning and become a reliable railroad, operating between Chicago and Detroit.

Individual counties are illustrated, labeled, and shaded different colors to allow for easy differentiation in both Michigan and Wisconsin. Cities, such as Milwaukee, Green Bay, Detroit, Saginaw, Ann Arbor, and Lansing are labeled in Michigan and Wisconsin, along with myriad other towns and villages. Cities in the neighboring states, such as Chicago, Toledo, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids are also labeled. Rivers, creeks, and lakes are illustrated as well, though not all are labeled.

This map was prepared by S. A. Mitchell Jr. for inclusion in the 1861 edition of Mitchell's New General Atlas. Like many American map publishers of this period, Mitchell did not regularly update his copyrights, 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. 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. Learn More...


Mitchell, 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 (Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr.) 1861.     Mitchell's New General Atlas was published by Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Jr., the son of the prolific cartographer Samuel Augustus Mitchell. Many of the plates are derived from the his father's Mitchell's Universal Atlas, but not directly. The Mitchell's Universal Atlas was initially sold to Thomas, Cowperthwait, and Company in 1849, and again to Charles Deliver in 1856. It was Deliver who introduced the new vibrant color scheme, abandoning the older Mitchell's Universal Atlas green borders and themes for bright reds, blues, and yellows. Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Jr. acquired the Deliver plates in 1859. He added his own floral motif border, but doubled down on the vibrant color scheme, thus introducing to the American public the most vividly colored American atlas of the 19th century. In 1860, he published the first edition of his New General Atlas and, despite a slump in sales during the American Civil War, attained a level of success to rival his father. Mitchell would continue to publish the New General Atlas until 1887, when the firm formally closed.


Very good. Even overall toning. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 0565.024 (1860 edition).