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Description

Nice example of Jedidiah Morse's depiction of the northern part of Abraham Bradley's postal map of he United States, published in 1796.

Abraham Bradley's map was the first American Postal map and one of the earliest large format maps printed in America to extend to the Mississippi River. It is also one of the few contemporary maps to identify the 5 proposed states of the Ordinance of 1789, as conceived by Thomas Jefferson.

Cincinnatus is shown. Chicago is shown, along with Detroit. A number of early forts appear. The Land of the Six Nations is shown, as are New Connecticut, Ohio Company lands, the Seven Ranges, Ft. Knox, Ft. Vincennes, Ft. Hamilton, General Wayne's Treaty Line, Ft. Wayne, Ft. Miami, Ft. Franklin, early portages, and many notes on the regions in the west.

First issued in 1796 (northeast sheet only), Bradley's postal map is among the most important maps in American history. It is one of only 4 large format maps of the United States to have been published in America prior to 1800, two of which (maps by Abel Buell and John Norman) are unlikely to ever again appear on the market. The map provides an exceptionally detailed look at the post offices and postal routes of America, as they existed at the end of the 18th Century, locating every post office then in operation. The map also includes the first printing of the first American postal delivery time and route schedule (which may have also been issued separately, although there are no known separately printed examples which have survived).

In 1796, Bradley published his first Map of the United States, Exhibiting the Post-Roads, the Situations, Connections, and Distances of the Post-Offices. At that time, less than 15 years after the end of the War of Independence, most citizens of the fledgling United States still had no real conception of the magnitude of their young nation. Bradley's postal map, with its schedule chart, was a perfect combination of Bradley's skills and obsession for precision scheduling. This unique U.S. map was on public display in almost every large post office in the country and provided citizens with an impressive visual depiction of the scope of the United States at a time when the search for a national culture and national identity was at its height, after the final and official separation from Great Britain. The inclusion of stagecoach schedules promoted, encouraged and broadened popular notions of the concept of time beyond seasonal and religious practices.

For many colonial residents, the Bradley's map was the iconic symbol of a unified United States. Citizens began to consider (and later demand adherence to) weekly and daily notations of time, as measured by the institution of regularly-scheduled mail service.

The present example is the second state of the map, with title word "Part" changed to "Parts."

Reference
Wheat & Brun #158 (state 2).