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One of the Earliest Maps of Florida Territory

An important early map of the Territory of Florida, published by Carey & Lea.

This interesting map, issued in 1822, shows Florida only 3 years after it was acquired by the United States from Spain. Settlement is limited to the area around St. Augustine, the traditional capital of East Florida. The southern two-thirds of the state were largely free of a permanent European American presence, as it was still largely controlled by the Seminole Nations that fiercely resisted American encroachment on their lands. Only with the Second Seminole War (1835-42) and the Third Seminole War (1855-58) would much of the state be opened to European American settlement. Florida would not become a state until 1845.

The present map appeared as part of Henry Carey & Isaac Lea's A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas (Philadelphia, 1822). It included many important early state maps, along with detailed written descriptions of the present state and history of the states. Carey & Lea were part of the venerable firm, Carey & Sons, the first great American map publishing house, established by Henry's father Matthew Carey in the 1780s.

The map mentions Andrew Jackson's governorship of the territory: "Possession was delivered to general Jackson, the commissioner of the United States, in July 1821, and the province now forms one of the territories of the United States." He is listed as the governor in 1821 followed by William P. Duvall in 1822.

This map is one of the critical foundation maps of any collection of the cartography of Florida.

Condition Description
Original hand-color. Engraving and letterpress on early-19th-century wove paper. Minor toning at the vertical centerfold, as often.
Henry Charles Carey Biography

Henry Charles Carey (1793-1879) was an American geography publisher and businessman. He was the son of Mathew Carey and carried on the family publishing company in partnership with his brother-in-law, Isaac Lea. Henry worked in his father’s business from a young age. At twelve, he managed a store selling his father’s publications. At fifteen, he was the firm’s financial manager. In 1817, he became a junior partner, which changed the company’s name to Carey & Son.

In 1822, Mathew Carey brought in a new junior partner, Isaac Lea, who had married Henry’s sister, Frances Anne. In the same year, Mathew Carey left the business, with Henry buying out his father’s share. His younger brother briefly joined the business, but left by 1829, when the firm was named Carey & Lea. William A. Blanchard joined the firm in 1833, causing another name change to Carey, Lea & Blanchard. Henry retired in 1835, leaving the firm as Lea & Blanchard.

Henry had outside interests, including political economy. He published Principles of Political Economy in 1837. He also wrote Past, Present, and Future (1848), Principles of Social Science (1858-1860), and The Unity of Law (1872). In the 1850s, he was very active in organizing the nascent Republican Party. He died in 1879.

Isaac Lea Biography

Isaac Lea (1792-1886) was an American publisher and geologist. Raised a Quaker in Delaware, he turned away from pacifist teachings and joined the militia in the War of 1812. After marrying Frances Anne, the daughter of publishing magnate Mathew Carey, Lea became a junior partner of Carey & Son in 1822. Mathew Carey left the firm in the same year and Isaac Lea worked primarily with his brother-in-law, Henry Charles Carey.

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.

By 1829, after the brief participation of Edward Carey, Henry’s younger brother, the company became known as Carey & Lea. William A. Blanchard joined the firm in 1833, causing another name change to Carey, Lea & Blanchard. Henry retired in 1838, leaving the firm as Lea & Blanchard.

Isaac Lea was not just a publisher, but an avid researcher with aptitude for geology. He was a member of the American Academy of Natural Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He retired from publishing in 1851 and turned increasingly to geological research, results of which he published until his death in 1886.