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The American Atlas; or, a Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America; Wherein are Delineated at Large its Several Regions, Countries, States, and Islands; and Chiefly the British Colonies ...

London: Printed and Published by Robert Laurie and James Whittle ... (Successors to the Late Mr. Robert Sayer), 1794. Folio. (21 1/2 x 15 1/4 inches). Mounted on guards throughout. Letterpress title with publisher's overslip (verso blank), 1p.letterpress Index to the Maps (verso blank), otherwise engraved throughout. 23 engraved maps, on 30 sheets, all with period hand-colouring in outline.

Expertly bound to style in half eighteenth century russia over period marbled paper covered boards, spine with raised bands in seven compartments, red morocco lettering piece in the second, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt

A very rare issue of the American Atlas, the most important 18th century atlas for America. Walter Ristow describes it as a "geographical description of the whole continent of America, as portrayed in the best available maps in the latter half of the eighteenth century ... as a major cartographic reference work it was, very likely, consulted by American, English, and French civilian administrators and military officers during the Revolution."

As a collection, the American Atlas stands as the most comprehensive, detailed and accurate survey of the American colonies at the beginning of the Revolution. Among the distinguished maps are; Braddock Meade's A Map of the Most Inhabited Parts of New England, the largest and most detailed map of New England that had yet been published; a map of The Provinces of New York and New Jersey by Samuel Holland, the Surveyor general for the northern American colonies; William Scull's A Map of Pennsylvania, the first map of that colony to include its western frontier; Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson's A Map of the Most Inhabited part of Virginia, the best colonial map for the Chesapeake region; and Lt. Ross's Course of the Mississipi, the first map of that river based on English sources.

Jefferys was the leading English cartographer of the 18th century. From about 1750, he published a series of maps of the English American colonies, that were among the most significant produced in the period. As Geographer to the Prince of Wales, and after 1761, Geographer to the King, Jefferys was well placed to have access to the best surveys conducted in America, and many of his maps held the status of "official work." Jefferys died on 20th November 1771, and in 1775, his successors, Robert Sayer and John Bennett, gathered these separately-issued maps together and republished them in book form as The American Atlas. Following Sayer's death, the plates were inherited by Laurie and Whittle, who re-issued the atlas with some interesting additions and changes. The present 1794 issue is particularly rare, and includes unrecorded or intermediate states of several maps.

The maps are as follows. Many of the maps are on several sheets, and in the Index, each individual sheet is numbered, the measurements refer to the image sizes.)

1-3. Braddock Meade (alias John Green). A Chart of North and South America, including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. "Publish'd ... 21st June 1790, by Robert Sayer". Six sheets joined into three folding sheets. This issue not listed by Stevens & Tree, but see 4 for earlier issues. This great wall map was chiefly issued to expose the errors in Delisle and Buache's map of the Pacific Northwest, published in Paris in 1752.

4. Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg. The Russian Discoveries. Published ... March 2d 1775. One double-page sheet.

5-6. Bowen, E. and John Gibson. A New and Correct Map of North America, and the West India Islands. Divided according to the Preliminary Articles of Peace ... wherein are particularly distinguished the United States ... Corrected from the Original Materials of Governr. Pownall. Printed for Robt. Sayer ... August 15th 1786. Four sheets joined into two folding sheets. Stevens & Tree 49 (j). Pownall's map, a later issue of the updated version that took into account the results of the Versailles peace treaty of January 1783.

7. Robert Sayer. The United States of North America with the British Possessions of Canada ... also the Spanish Territories of Louisiana and Florida. Printed for Robert Sayer ... 1st January 1790. Double-page. Intermediate issue, not listed by Stevens & Tree, but see 51 (d) and (e), for an earlier and later issues. It is interesting to note that the American flag surmounting the cartouche contains just 13 stars - Vermont did not join the Federal Union until 1791.

8. Samuel Dunn. A New Map of the United States of North America. Printed for Robt. Sayer ...10 June 1786 . Single sheet. Stevens & Tree 53 (d).

9. Thomas Jefferys. An Exact Chart of the River St. Laurence from Fort Frontenac to the Island of Anticosti. Printed for Robt. Sayer... 25 May 1775. Two sheets joined into one folding sheet. Stevens & Tree 76 (d).

10. Sayer & Bennett. A Chart of the Gulf of St. Laurence. Printed for & Sold by Robert Sayer ... 1 August 1786. Double-page.

11. A Map of the Island of St. John in the Gulf of St. Laurence. Printed for Robt. Sayer ... [No date]. Double-page.

12. James Cook & Michael Lane. A General Chart of the Island of Newfoundland. Published ... 10th May 1775 By Thomas Jefferys ... Printed for Robt. Sayer. Double-page.

13. A Chart of the Banks of Newfoundland. Printed for & Sold by Robt. Sayer ... 26th March 1787. Double-page. Based on the surveys of James Cook, Chabert and Fleurieu.

14. Braddock Meade (alias John Green.) A New Map of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island with the Adjacent Parts of New England and Canada. Printed & Sold by R. Sayer ... 1 Augt. 1786. Double-page. Stevens & Tree 66 (k). Originally published in 1755, at the beginning of the French and Indian War, this map "proved to be important in evaluating respective French and English claims to this part of North America" (Ristow). England gained sole possession of the region by the Treaty of Paris, 1763.

15-16. Braddock Meade (alias John Green.) A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England. Publish'd 12 May 1794 by Laurie & Whittle. Four sheets joined into two folding sheets. Stevens & Tree 33 (f). The first large-scale map of New England. "The most detailed and informative pre-Revolutionary map of New England ... not really supplanted until the nineteenth century" (New England Prospect, 13).

17. Capt. [Samuel] Holland. The Provinces of New York and New Jersey, with Part of Pensilvania. Printed for Robt. Sayer & John Bennett 17 Augt. 1776. Three insets: A plan of the City of New York, A chart of the Mouth of Hudson's River, and A Plan of Amboy. Two sheets joined to form one folding sheet. Stevens & Tree 44 (e). An important large-scale map of the Provinces of New York and New Jersey, by Samuel Holland, Surveyor General for the Northern English colonies. With fine insets including a street plan of colonial New York City.

18. Brassier. A Survey of Lake Champlain. Printed for Robert Sayer ... 1 Jany. 1788. Double-page. An intermediate issue not listed by Stevens & Tree, but see Stevens & Tree 25 (b) and 25 (c) for ealier and later issues. Like Stevens & Tree 25 (c) this issue has the title in a cartouche and added noted regarding Lake Champlain.

19. Carver. A New and Correct Map of the Province of Quebec. Printed for Robert Sayer ... 1 Jan. 1788. Double-page. Stevens & Tree 73 (b).

20. William Scull. A Map of Pennsylvania Exhibiting not only the Improved Parts of the Province but also its Extensive Frontiers. Printed for Robt. Sayer & J. Bennett ... Published ... 10 June 1775. Two sheets joined to form one folding sheet. The first map of the Province of Pennsylvania to include its western frontier. All earlier maps had focused solely on the settled eastern parts of the colony.

21-22. Joshua Fry & Peter Jefferson. A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia, containing the Whole Province of Maryland ... Drawn by Joshua Fry & Peter Jefferson in 1775 [sic]. Printed for Robt. Sayer, [no date]. Four sheets joined into two folding sheets. An intermediate issue not listed by Stevens & Tree, but see Stevens & Tree 87 (f) and 87 (g) for issues printed before and afterwards. "The basic cartographical document of Virginia in the eighteenth century ... the first to depict accurately the interior regions of Virginia beyond the Tidewater. [It] dominated the cartographical representation of Virginia until the nineteenth century" (Verner.)

23-24. Henry Mouzon. An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers. Published by Laurie & Whittle ... 12th May 1794. Four sheets joined into two folding sheets. Stevens & Tree 11 (b). "The chief type map for [the Carolinas] during the forty or fifty years following its publication. It was used by both British and American forces during the Revolutionary War" (Cumming, 450.)

25. Thomas Jefferys. The Coast of West Florida and Loisiana ... The Peninsula and Gulf of Florida. [Imprint indistinct, but dated 1775]. Two sheets joined into one folding sheet. Cf. Stevens & Tree 26 (b). The imprint is indistinct but the date allied with the presence of the name Bay of Spiritu Santo, both suggest Stevens & Tree 26 (b). A large-scale map of Florida, based upon the extensive surveys conducted since the region became an English possession by the Treaty of Paris (1763).

26. Lt. Ross. Course of the Mississipi ... Taken on an Expedition to the Illinois, in the latter end of the Year 1765. Published by Laurie & Whittle ... 12th May 1794. Two sheet joined into one olding sheet. Stevens & Tree 31 (c). The first large-scale map of the Mississippi River, and the first based in whole or part upon English surveys.

27. Thomas Jefferys. The Bay of Honduras. Printed for Robt. Sayer ... 20 Feby. 1775. Double-page.

28-29. J.B.B. D'Anville. A Map of South America .... Printed for Robert Sayer ... July the 1st 1787. Four sheets joined into two folding sheets.

30. Cruz Cano [etc.]. A Chart of the Straits of Magellan. Printed for R. Sayer and J. Bennett ... 1st July 1775. Double-page.

Howes J-81; Phillips Atlases 1165; Sabin 35953 (refers, he had not seen the 1775); Streeter Sale I, 72; cf. Walter Ristow (editor) Thomas Jefferys The American Atlas London 1776 , facsimile edition, Amsterdam 1974.

Item #24644

Price: $125,000.00

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