A scarce example of Wells map of North America. Wells produced a lavish school atlas on the occasion of William Duke of Glouchester's schooling at Oxford. As such, this map rarely appears in early color.
This wonderful and curious example of the map has no centerfold and may well have been issued separately as a teaching aid. The map is richly annotated with manuscript notes, including the course of Drake's Voyage to California and extensive notations concerning the date of d discovery of at least 15-20 locations. Since th last of the notations show the ceding of the region just east of the Mississippi River along the Gulf Coast to the English in 1763 and a similar note and date near Quebec, it would seem that the map was used at approximately this date. The majority of the notes reflect late 16th to mid 17th Century discoveries. Wells map is a fascinating mix of contemporary information and inaccuracies. In identifying California as an Island, Wells was behind the times. His location of the Mississippi River as originating in Texas is also very inaccurate. However, his map is largely based upon the work of the Recollet missionary Louis Hennepin and faithfully displays Hennepin's discoveries.
The shape of Florida is very odd. Along the East coast, many of the early English settlements and American Colonial cities are shown. Wells also included annotations and dates of discovery.
Edward Wells was a Church of England clergyman and advocate for education. He published prolifically, including several atlases of the ancient and contemporary world. Wells was the son of a vicar and entered Christ Church, Oxford in late 1686. He graduated BA in 1690, MA in 1693, and worked as a tutor at his college from 1691 to 1702. Then, he entered into a living at Cotesbach, Leicestershire, from where he continued to publish his many works. He attained the degrees of BD and DD in 1704, after he was already at Cotesbach.
From roughly 1698 onward, Wells wrote many sermons, books, and atlases. He focused on catechismal and pastoral works, as well as educational books. For example, some of his first works were mathematics texts for young gentlemen, which included how to use globes and determine latitude and longitude. He also translated classical and Christian texts, sometimes adding geographical annotations.
His descriptive geographies were not overly original works, but they were popular in their time. First, he produced a Treatise of Antient and Present Geography in 1701; it went on to four more editions. Next was a Historical Geography of the New Testament (1708), accompanied by a Historical Geography of the Old Testament (1711-12).