A New Map of Nth. Carolina with its Canals, Roads & Distances from Place to Place, along the Stage & Steam Boat Routes.
1854 (dated 1850) 12 x 14.5 in (30.48 x 36.83 cm)
1 : 2450000
A fine example of Samuel Augustus Mitchell's important 1854 map of North Carolina. This map shows cities, topographical features, railways, ferries and roads with color coding at the county level. In addition to cartographic information this map is full of practical data for the armchair traveler including a profile of the Dismal Swamp Canal (an important trade artery in the region), a Table of Distances, insets of the vicinity of New Berne and the Carolina Gold Region.
Of particular interest is Mitchell's focus on the North Carolina gold region highlighted by an inset in the lower left quadrant. Gold was first discovered in Cabarrus County North Carolina in 1799 by twelve-year-old Conrad Reed. Reed discovered a seventeen-pound gold nugget setting of the nation's first Gold Rush. Additional gold deposits were soon discovered in neighboring Montgomery, Stanly, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Union counties. The Carolina Gold Rush was a major factor in the settlement and population of the western parts of North Carolina.
Cartographically this map is based on the earlier work of Tanner though it has been updated with new information as well as Mitchell's distinctive decorative border and color scheme. Published as plate no. 18 in the 1854 edition of Mitchell's New Universal 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 District Court 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.
The New Universal Atlas is one of the great American atlases of the mid-19th century. Samuel Augustus Mitchell first issued the atlas in 1846 when he acquired the map plates and copyright for Tanner's New Universal Atlas from its publisher, Carey and Hart. The first transitional 1846 edition was published jointly with Carey and Hart, but a second edition was published in the same year with the Tanner imprint erased. This edition of the atlas also introduced the signature S. A. Mitchell green and pink color scheme. Most of the maps from the early editions of the atlas were engraved by H. N. Burroughs or C. S. Williams, often bearing their copyright. Burroughs maps also tended to have what map collector David Rumsey refers to as the 'Cary and Hart' borders, which featured a narrow vine motif. These borders were replaced, along with the Burroughs imprint, with the more traditional Mitchell strap work border used in the atlases until 1856. Mitchell published editions until late in 1850, when he sold the rights to Thomas, Cowperthwait and Company of Philadelphia. Under Cowperthwait, the atlases continued to be published and bear the Mitchell name until 1856, when it the plates were again sold, this time to Charles Desilver. Desilver reworked the plates with new border art and a revised color scheme in the style of J. H. Colton. Desilver issued editions from 1857 to 1860, when the atlas was phased out in favor of Samuel Augustus Mitchell Jr.'s New General Atlas.
Very good. Minor foxing at places.
Rumsey 0537.019 (1846 edition). Phillips (Atlases) 814.