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1866 Mitchell Map of Washington D.C.

Plan of the City of Washington The Capitol of the United States of America. - Main View

1866 Mitchell Map of Washington D.C.



Plan of the City of Washington The Capitol of the United States of America.
  1866 (dated 1861)     11.5 x 14 in (29.21 x 35.56 cm)


A rare 1866 Map of Washington D.C. by American map publisher S. A. Mitchell Jr. Depicts the city shortly following Lincoln's assassination. Important buildings such as the capitol, the Arsenal, the Smithsonian Institute, the White House, etc. are individually drawn in and labeled. Offers wonderful detail at the street level including references to parks, individual streets, piers, ferries, and important buildings. Colored coded with pastels according to city wards. Includes Georgetown. Based upon the original plan of Washington D. C. developed by French architect Pierre-Charles L'Enfant . Surrounded by the attractive floral border common to Mitchell atlases between 1860 and 1866. Prepared by S. A. Mitchell Jr. for inclusion as plate 26 in the 1866 issue 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 1861: 'Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1861 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. 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, S. A., Mitchell's New General Atlas Containing Maps of the Various Countries of the World, Plans of Cities, Etc., embraced in Fifty-Five Quarto Maps, Forming a series of Eight-Seven Maps and Plans, together with Valuable Statistical Tables, 1866 edition.    


Fine or perfect condition. Blank on verso.


Phillips (atlases) 1026. Rumsey 2483.019. Ristow, Walter, American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 303, 315.