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1850 Mitchell Map of Washington D.C. & Georgetown

City of Washington. - Main View

1850 Mitchell Map of Washington D.C. & Georgetown


One of the most attractive American atlas maps of Washington D.C. to appear in the mid-19th century.


City of Washington.
  1850 (undated)     12.5 x 16 in (31.75 x 40.64 cm)


This is beautiful hand colored 1850 map of Washington D.C., Capital of the United States. The map covers all of Washington D.C. as well as parts of adjacent Georgetown. The whole is highly detailed with individual buildings noted and color coding to define city wards. Some seventy-five buildings, including the Capitol, the White House, the Cemetery, the Brewery, various markets, the Masonic Hall, and the Tobacco Warehouse, and many others, are identified. Produced by the American map publisher S. A. Mitchell Sr. from his offices on the northeast corner of Market and 7th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Samuel Augustus Mitchell (March 20, 1792 - December 20, 1868) began his map publishing career in the early 1830s. Mitchell was born in Bristol, Connecticut. He relocated to Philadelphia in 1821. Having worked as a school teacher and a geographical writer, 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. More by this mapmaker...


Mitchell Sr., S. A.,A New Universal Atlas Containing Maps of the various Empires, Kingdoms, States and Republics Of The World. (1850 issue)    


Very good condition. Blank on verso. Minor toning in the lower left quadrant - see image. A few marginal verso repairs of closed tears. Else a clean example.


Rumsey 0537.017 (1846 edition). Phillips (Atlases) 6103-16.