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Stock# 58421
Description

The First American Atlas Map of the Western United States -- Based Upon Lewis & Clark's Reports

Nice example of Mathew Carey's highly important map of Missouri Territory.

Published shortly after the return of Lewis & Clark. Carey's map of the Transmississippi West is one of the seminal maps of the period and the first atlas map to provide the cartographic detail derived from the return of the Lewis & Clark expedition. The map was first issued in 1814, the same year Lewis & Clark issued their highly influential map of the region from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, which was also issued by Matthew Carey. It is, without question, the first great map of the American West to appear in a Commercial Atlas published in the United States.

Carey's map is a curious amalgam of information. While it includes highly up to date Lewis & Clark geographical details in certain portions of the map, other portions continue to rely upon Soulard and earlier material furnished by Lewis.

Stretching from the Mississippi and Missory (sic) Rivers and the Atlantic Ocean, Carey's Missouri Territory . . . and John Melish's map of the United States represent landmarks in American Cartographic history. Each look for the first time, to explain the vast tracks of land obtained by Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase, and begin to reconcile the information then being provided by Arrowsmith, Lewis & Clark, Humboldt and other sources.

An essential map of Western American Collectors.

Condition Description
Minor soiling.
Reference
Wheat 315.
Mathew Carey Biography

Mathew Carey (1760-1839) was an American publisher who founded what would become the largest American publishing house of the nineteenth century. As a young man, he emigrated from Dublin to Philadelphia in 1784. A year later, in 1785, he set up a print shop and publishing house, where he was primarily a publisher of journals and serials, including the Pennsylvania Evening Herald. His first cartographic production, A General Atlas for the Present War, was issued in 1794. It is largely based on maps drawn from William Guthrie’s Atlas to Guthrie’s System of Geography, a popular text book of the period first issued in London in 1770.

In 1795, Carey published The General Atlas for Carey’s Edition of Guthrie’s Geography Improved, which included sixteen maps of the American States. These maps, plus five others, were issued under the title American Atlas later in 1795. The American Atlas holds the distinction of being the earliest general atlas of the United States. Engravers included William Barker, Joseph T. Scott, James Thackery and John Vallance of Philadelphia, Samuel Hill of Boston, Amos Doolittle of New Haven, Connecticut, and Benjamin Tanner of New York. Samuel Lewis served as geographer, draftsman, mapmaker and penman, and made substantial contributions to the work. Later, he partnered with Aaron Arrowsmith of London.

In 1796, Carey released his General Atlas, which included maps of the rest of the world. This work was issued with periodic updates through 1818. A second edition of Carey’s American Atlas was published in 1809, expanding the American coverage to 26 maps. During this time period, two of the maps which were offered with the atlas do not appear in all editions, Lewis’ map of the United States and his map of the Old Northwest Territory, which was published to illustrate the United States’ new land rights obtained in the Treaty of Grenville. Carey would also publish the first miniature atlas published in America, his American Pocket Atlas, published from 1796 to 1814.

Mathew Carey retired in 1822, leaving his son Henry Charles Carey and his son-in-law Isaac Lea the publishing house he had built over the prior four decades. He died in 1839. The pair conducted business as Carey & Lea, during which time they published A Complete Historical, Chronological and Geographical Atlas from 1822 to 1827. This work included roughly twenty maps engraved by Fielding Lucas Jr., as well as an American edition of Starling’s Cabinet Atlas. However, the firm increasingly turned away from cartographic publications.