CAREY, Henry Charles, and Isaac LEA (publishers)
A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas, being a guide to the history of North and South America, and the West Indies: exhibiting an accurate account of the discovery, settlement, and progress, of their various kingdoms, states, provinces, &c. Together with the wars, celebrated battles, and remarkable events, to the year 1826
Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1827. Folio. Mounted on guards throughout. Letterpress title (copyright notice on verso), 1p. "Advertisement" to Third Edition dated "January 1827" (verso blank), 1p. "Contents" and "Index" (verso blank) plus forty-six double-page handcolored copper engraved maps, most with descriptive letterpress in margins, and many with supplementary text pages following; one double-page engraved plate of mountains (uncolored); and one double-page colored plate of river lengths. Titlepage remargined, minor foxing, some faint staining along bottom edge.
Later 19th-century three-quarter calf and original plain paper boards, later gilt morocco label. Boards slightly rubbed.
One of the most important early atlases printed in the United States: a handsome atlas of the Americas, with individual colour maps of each state in the Union, including a seminal map of the West by Stephen H. Long.
At the time of publication this was the best and most detailed atlas to be produced in the United States. Fielding Lucas, the major Baltimore printer, was the principal engraver and substantial historical background text accompanies each map. Among the most noted maps in the atlas is Major Stephen H. Long's "Map of Arkansa and other Territories of the United States." That map, which depicts the Missouri basin between Nashville in the east, the Mandan villages in the north and the Rocky Mountains in the west, was based on the surveys conducted by Long on his expeditions of 1819 and 1820. On this famous map is the printed legend, which would perpetuate a myth for many years to come, identifying the high plains as the "Great American Desert." The 1827 edition ("Third edition, Corrected and Improved") of Carey & Lea's historic atlas, first published in 1822, includes much new material, with all the maps and text updated, except for the Washington, D.C., and Michigan maps. This was the first American atlas that was modeled on Le Sage's plan of having explanatory text surrounding the maps. The maps, for the most part by Fielding Lucas, are beautifully drawn and colored.
Howes C133 ("aa"); Phillips 1373a; Sabin 15055; Wheat, Transmississippi West 348 and 352.