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A Map of South Carolina: Constructed and Drawn from the District Surveys Ordered by the Legislature. John WILSON.
A Map of South Carolina: Constructed and Drawn from the District Surveys Ordered by the Legislature

A Map of South Carolina: Constructed and Drawn from the District Surveys Ordered by the Legislature

Philadelphia: 1822. Engraved map on four sheets, unjoined, engraved by H. S. Tanner. Large inset of Charleston harbour. Approximately 48 x 63 inches, if joined.

The first large-scale map of South Carolina made after the establishment of the United States and the first official map of the state.

"Soon after the United States was constitutionally established each of the individual states was confronted with the urgent need for an accurate and up to date map of its jurisdiction. The federal government was financially unable to support the compilation and publication of such maps ... Not until the second or third decades of the nineteenth century were most of the young states able to support official mapping projects ... The state maps are among the earliest examples of truly American cartography. They were, for the most part, based on surveys by Americans and were compiled drafted, engraved, printed and published in the United States. They were, moreover, specifically designed to meet the cartographic requirements of the several states. Above all, in the methods, techniques and procedures employed to produce state maps, American ingenuity and resourcefulness were abundently demonstrated" (Ristow, p. 85).

The story of South Carolina's first state map followed a similar path as other states. As the need and fashion for internal improvements boomed following the War of 1812, including the building of roads, canals and railways, an accurate official map was required. In 1817, the South Carolina General Assembly began the process by ordering surveys of each district for use in compiling a larger official state map, and James Wilson, a civil and miliary engineer was placed in charge of its production. In all, 19 surveyors would be employed to survey 28 different districts or counties. By the time of its completion, the total cost for surveying, engraving and printing the map would exceed $90,000. As in other state maps of the period, engraver H. S. Tanner was commissioned to produce the present final product, writing in his Memoir that "Wilson's map is decidedly one of our best and most scientific maps." It would remain the foundation map for South Carolina until the Civil War.

Phillips, A List of Maps of America, p. 822; Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, pp. 126-128 & 209-210; Rumsey 4996.

Item #28378

Price: $22,500.00

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