1828 Finley Map of North America

North America.

1828 Finley Map of North America


One of the last depictions of the apocryphal River of the West.


North America.
  1828 (undated)    11.5 x 9 in (29.21 x 22.86 cm)     1 : 33000000


This is Anthony Finley's desirable 1827 map of the North America. The map depicts the continent from Panama to the Arctic Circle, including Greenland, Iceland, and the northwestern tip of Asia. The U.S. claims to British Columbia prior to the 1818 compromise that set the boundary at the 49th parallel are illustrated. Mexico's claims to Upper California are included as well, here labeled 'New Albion' and 'Unexplored Territory.'

Finley curiously charts two lakes in the Great Basin, one labeled Timpanagos and another smaller lake further south labeled 'Salt Lake.' The Great Salt Lake is said to have first been seen by Europeans in 1824, only a few years before this map was published, so it is unlikely that Finley drew from this exploration. Instead, Finley is following Escalante's discoveries as recorded on the Miera map. The Escalante expedition actually visited Utah Lake (Timpanagos), but only heard about the Great Salt Lake from local native American Ute tribe. Miera, Escalante's cartographer, thus mapped Timpanagos as much larger than the unseen 'Great Salt Lake.'

In addition, Finley maps the Buenaventura River running from the Rocky Mountains westward through 'Salt Lake' and westward to San Francisco Bay. The Buenaventura is the last incarnation of the apocryphal River of the West, a long sought after speculative alternative to the Northwest Passage. The mapping of Buenaventura here again references legitimate discoveries by Escalante of the White River and the Sevier River. In this case, both are mistakenly associated with the River of the West and given an erroneous outlet into San Francisco Bay.

There are additional notations on several Arctic expeditions in northern Canada by Kensir (1789), Hearne (1771) and Franklin (1821). Each identified a sea between the 60th and 70th parallel. Though not fully explored until later, these are most likely the first sightings of Dolphin and Union Strait, Austin Bay, Coronation Gulf, and the Dease Strait. These bodies of water lie between the North American mainland and Victoria Island.

Engraved by Young and Delleker for the 1828 edition of Anthony Finley's General Atlas.


Anthony Finley (c. 1790 - 1840) was an American map publisher based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His most prominent works, A New American Atlas and the New General Atlas… were published from 1824 to 1834. While little is known of Finley's personal life, he seems to have worked in the same publishing and engraving circles as Tanner. Though most of Finley's cartographic material was borrowed from European sources, his atlases were favorably reviewed at the time of their publishing. His works are known for being attractively sparse and minimalist, focusing primarily on clarity and only the most important facts.


Finley, Anthony, A New General Atlas, Comprising a Complete Set of Maps, representing the Grand Divisions of the Globe, Together with the several Empires, Kingdoms and States in the World; Compiled from the Best Authorities, and corrected by the Most Recent Discoveries, Philadelphia, 1828.    


Very good. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 0285.004 (1831 edition). Phillips (Atlases) 4314, 760, 752, 6045.
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