This is a scarce first edition example of S. A. Mitchell and H. N. Burrough's 1846 plan or map of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This hand colored lithographic engraving depicts the city of Philadelphia in superb detail at the street level including references to the individual buildings, trains, canals, and roads. Colored coded with pastels according to city wards, it includes nice details in the Delaware River, noting ferry crossings, sand bars, currents, and steamboat routes. A table to the right of the map proper, in the midst of the Delaware River, assigns Public Buildings, Hotels, Churches, and Banks numerical codes.
This is a rare transitional map produced by the mysterious engraver H. N. Burroughs, whose work for the Mitchell firm appears in 1846 between that of H.S. Tanner and Mitchell himself. Ristow notes, 'Nothing is known about Burroughs, but he was undoubtedly an employee or associate of Mitchell.' His fine and detailed work appears only in the hard to find 1846 edition of the Mitchell's Atlas. Issued as plate no. 14 in the 1846 edition of Mitchell's New General Atlas.
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.
H. N. Burroughs (fl. c. 1835 - c. 1860) was an engraver based in Pennsylvania and active in the early 19th century. Burroughs is an extremely elusive figure who work appears almost exclusively in conjunction with that of Henry Schenk Tanner and Samuel Augustus Mitchell (the elder). His name appears on the 1846 copyrights of many of Mitchell's earliest and most important atlas and pocket maps. Following 1846, Burroughs seems to have retired from cartography or changed careers. There are records of one H. N. Burroughs who owned a Pennsylvania coal mining company, and another who was president of a New York Bank. Whether or not these are the same individual is unknown.
Mitchell, S., A New Universal Atlas Containing Maps of the various Empires, Kingdoms, States and Republics Of The World, 1846.
Very good. Minor overall toning. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 0537.015. Philips (Atlases) 6103.