Rare Separately Published Bremen Edition of Hennepin's Map of North America in Original Color From A Russian Composite Atlas
Fine old color example of the rare Philip Gottfried Saurmans edition of Louis Hennepin's map of North America, first published in a French language edition in 1697.
In addition to its exceptional rarity, the present example is interesting for several reasons. First, the present example was bound into a Russian composite atlas, with the manuscript title in Russian, preserved on the verso of the map. Second, the map appears in original color. This is the first time we have ever seen a Hennepin map bound into a composite atlas and the first time we have ever seen a Hennepin map in original color.
Hennepin's map provides one the earliest and most important depictions of the Great Lakes, Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley, a marked improvement over earlier maps. However, the Great Lakes are still considerably oversized, Hudson Bay too far to the east and the Mississippi River too far to the west, with its mouth in what is present-day Texas, based upon La Salle's report.
The map illustrates the French Forts in between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, including Fort des Miams and Fort de Crevecouer. The treatment of the Ohio River is also noteworthy.
The present map includes one noteworthy update from the original 1697 map. While retaining the French toponyms, Saurmans corrects the mis-spelling of Philadelphia in the French issue of the map.
Fr. Louis Hennepin, a member of the Recollect Order of Franciscans, accompanied Rene-Robert de LaSalle on part of his journey down the Mississippi in 1682. LaSalle was hoping to reach the Pacific Ocean, but instead ended up in the Gulf of Mexico, thereby adding a large slice of North America to French claims west of the Appalachians, well away from the threat of British colonists.
An excellent summary of the state of knowledge of North America, at the beginning of the 18th century. Among other things, this beautiful map attempts to place into perspective Hennepin's mapping of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Karpinski noted that Hennepin's delineations of Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are remarkable improvements upon the Sanson maps.
Hennepin was one of the most popular chroniclers of the exploration of the American interior. Several books in numerous editions appeared under his name, although he was also given to sensational and unsupportable claims, such as his claim to have been first to the mouth of the Mississippi, ahead of LaSalle.
The Bremen edition of the map is rare on the market, and to our knowledge, unique as a a separately issued example in old color.