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1873 S.D.U.K. Map of the West Indies and Caribbean

The Antilles or West-India Islands. - Main View

1873 S.D.U.K. Map of the West Indies and Caribbean



The Antilles or West-India Islands.
  1873 (undated)     13 x 16 in (33.02 x 40.64 cm)


A beautifully colored 1873 map of the West Indies and Caribbean by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (S.D.U.K.). The map covers from Florida to the Spanish Main (U. States of Columbia) and from Guatemala to the Lesser Antilles and Trinidad. Stanford uses color coding to identify British, French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish and Danish possessions. Relief is shown by hachure with some undersea features, such as the Cay Sal, the Florida Reef, and the Great Bahama Bank noted. This map was originally engraved by J. and C. Walker in 1835 for the 1844 Baldwin and Craddock edition of the S.D.U.K. Atlas. The firm of edward Stanford and Son, of 6 Charing Cross, London, acquired the rights in 1873 and reissued their own edition of the popular S.D.U.K. atlas shortly thereafter.


The "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" (1826 - 1848) was a Whiggish organization founded in 1828 at the instigation of idealistic British lord Henry Peter Brougham. The admirable goal of the Society was to distribute useful information via a series of publications to the English working and middle classes. It promoted self-education and the egalitarian sharing of all knowledge. While closely tied to the London University and publishing houses on the order of Baldwin and Cradock, Chapman and Hall, and Charles Knight, the Society failed to achieve its many lofty goals in finally closed its doors in 1848. Most likely the failure of the Society resulted from its publications being too expensive for its intended lower to middle class markets and yet not large and fine enough to appeal to the aristocratic market. Nonetheless, it did manage to publish several extraordinary atlases of impressive detail and sophistication. Their most prominent atlas consisted of some 200 separately issued maps initially published by Baldwin and Cradock and sold by subscription from 1829 to 1844. Afterwards, the Society combined the maps into a single world atlas published under the Chapman and Hall imprint. In its day, this atlas was unprecedented in its quality, scope, and cost effectiveness. Today Society, or S.D.U.K. as it is commonly known, maps are among the most impressive examples of mid-19th century English mass market cartographic publishing available. The S.D.U.K. is especially known for its beautiful and accurately detailed city plans. More by this mapmaker...

Edward Stanford (May 27, 1827 - November 3, 1904) was one of the most prolific map publishing firms of the late 19th century. The company began as a partnership in 1848 between the 21 year old Edward Stanford and the established map dealer Trelawney Saunders. By 1853 the partnership had dissolved and Edward Stanford took full control of the business. A subsequent series of expansions and exciting new map issues finally led to the production of Stanford's masterwork, "Stanford's Library Map of London". This map is still available and remains somewhat accurate. At the time of publishing it was hailed by the Royal Geographical Society as "the most perfect map of London that has ever been issued". In 1882 Edward Stanford Sr. passed the firm on to his son, Edward Stanford Jr. who continued in his father's proud tradition. Today the Stanford firm still publishes maps and remains one of the most important and prolific cartographic publishers in the world. Learn More...


Atlas of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, (Edward Stanford and Son, London) 1873.    


Very good. Minor verso repair along original centerfold.


National Library of Australia, Map Rm 131. Rumsey 0890.142 (SDUK edition).