The First Official Map of New York State with a large Inset Map of Manhattan.
Fine case map edition of David Burr's wall map of New York with a large inset Plan of New York City, published in 1834.
Burr's map was essentially the first official state map of New York, having been based primarily upon surveys authorized by the legislature, The first edition of the map noted that it was "Published by [order of ] Simeon de Witt Surveyor General [of the State of New York] Pursuant to an act of the Legislature." A second edition appeared in 1834.
Burr's map was the most accurate and detailed of New York for the period. The inset maps include a large map of Manhattan (29" x 10¾"), with smaller maps of Syracuse, Hudson, Oswego, Poughkeepsie, Ithaca, Utica, Rochester, Schenectady, Lockport, Auburn, Buffalo, Albany, and Troy.
While the map appears occasionally on the market in wall map format, it is very rare in this dissected case map format, which provides for an exceptional preservation of the original color.
The present example (purchased in December 2017) was the third example offered for sale in the past 30 years at auction. The two prior examples were Swann Galleries December 8, 2005 ($14,950) and Swann Galleries 1997 ($6,440).
David H. Burr studied law, passing the New York Bar Exam, and then surveying under Simeon DeWitt in New York. His first atlas was an atlas of New York State (1829), the second state atlas to be issued in the US (after Mills’ Atlas of South Carolina in 1826). In the 1830s, he served as the official topographer for the US Post Office, producing a series of rare and highly sought-after large-format state maps. He also created a map of the country’s postal routes, which features roads, canals, and railroads. Burr traveled to London to work with John Arrowsmith; together, they produced the American Atlas in 1839.
Upon his return to the States, Burr was appointed as a draftsman for the House of Representatives, where he worked until ca. 1841. He later worked for the Louisiana Survey and the Florida Survey. By 1850, he was back in Washington D. C., working on the census. In 1852, the Senate named Burr as the draftsman to compile maps from the Federal Surveys. In 1853, Burr traveled to San Francisco, perhaps as part of his work for the Senate. He was then named as the Surveyor General of Utah in 1855. However, he was unpopular there and returned to Washington D. C. by 1870. Burr is widely regarded as one of the most important names in the nineteenth-century American history of cartography.