This is a fine example of Thomas Bradford's 1835 map of Mississippi, issued in the second edition of the atlas in 1838. The map is attractive, showing an elegant early layout of counties, alongside many towns, cities, rivers, swamps, forts, and other features. Detail extends into the neighboring states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alabama.
The text leaf contains an extensive description of early 19th century Mississippi. The text delves into the geography, hydrology, economy, religion, and politics of the state. The demographic information and portrayal of slavery is perhaps the most interesting part of the text. The population breakdown shows the spread of slavery throughout the state. While all states had slavery, the ratio of "whites" to "slaves" varies from about 10:1 in Jones County (an inequality between whites which would lead to the so-called "Free State of Jones" during the Civil War), to about 1:4 in Jefferson county. The text also contains an interesting section regarding the Indian tribes in the area.
Bradford's atlas was a departure from other atlases of the period. Along with HS Tanner, Bradford produced an elegant, well engraved large format atlas on high-quality paper. The 1830s were a fascinating transitional period in both US geopolitics and in domestic cartographic publishing. Bradford's work is without question an important part of this era. His maps were engraved by GW Boynton or S. Stiles, Sherman and Smith.
Thomas Gamaliel Bradford (1802-1887) was an American geographic publisher. He hailed from Bradford, Massachusetts and began his publishing career by working for the America Encyclopedia. Then, he edited and republished the Atlas Designed to Illustrate the Abridgement of Universal Geography, Modern & Ancient, which had originally been offered in French by Adrian Balbi. In 1835, he published another atlas, A Comprehensive Atlas: Geographical, Historical & Commercial, and, in 1838, An Illustrated Atlas Geographical, Statistical and Historical of the United States and Adjacent Countries. His interests were primarily in educational publishing and he was one of the first mapmakers to show Texas as an independent country.