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Stock# 70407

Rare School Atlas containing 15 Hand-Drawn Maps

Fascinating didactic atlas published for students of geography, with the intention that they should complete the maps in ink and color. As such, each map shows a surprising level of detail and is penned in a neat schoolchild manner.

The only printed material in each of these maps appears to be the titles and the lines of latitude and longitude. The students were responsible for filling in the rest, which the advertisement at the front suggests can be done by copying from other school common atlases, including Guthrie's, Walker's, or Goldsmith's other publications.

The maps touch on a variety of subjects, with the first twelve appearing to be simple geographical maps of the continents and the world, on two different projections. Particular attention is paid to parts of the world populated by the British Empire, including the Indian Subcontinent and the Caribbean. In regions where many colonial powers are active, the outline color indicates the distribution of these powers, with red indicating Spain, blue indicating France, and yellow indicating England, a fashionable system of the time. The final three maps touch on historically important regions, including the Holy Land, ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.

A two-page advertisement at the front of the atlas, written by Goldsmith, outlines the purpose of this work in educating schoolchildren regarding geography. He emphasizes that:

... it would be as absurd to expect that a Student of Arithmetic should become a Proficient in that Science, by committing its Rules to Memory without his working Exercises and Examples, as it would be to expect that Students in Geography should make any real Proficiency in that Science without drawing maps. 

A series of other works, all rare and dated to the same year, are produced in the same theme by Goldsmith. A book for junior students leaves the outlines of the continents and countries in. In addition, a key, produced for schoolmasters, was also published.

The blank maps were produced by Richard Phillips and dated 1806.


  1. Map of the World (folding).
  2. Europe.
  3. Asia.
  4. Africa.
  5. North America.
  6. South America.
  7. England and Wales.
  8. Scotland.
  9. Ireland.
  10. West Indies.
  11. Hindostan.
  12. Chart of the World (folding)
  13. Ancient Greece.
  14. The Roman Empire at its Greatest Extent.
  15. Canaan, including the Holy Land.


OCLC lists only one example of the present book, printed for senior students, held in the Princeton Library. Their example has not been completed and only possesses latitude and longitude lines, as well as the title. Princeton dates the incomplete book to 1808. This example was probably printed in 1806 (one of the maps is watermarked "1805" and the imprints and advertisement are all dated "1806".) Princeton suggests that their book was made in 1808. Ours was probably bound in 1808, as one of the blank endpapers bears the watermark "JWhatman 1808".

No copies listed in RBH since 1977.

Condition Description
Oblong octavo. Contemporary (circa 1808) full-calf tree calf. Hinges just starting. [8, including title], 15 maps each separated by tissue, [3]. On the map sheets the latitude, longitude, and title are printed, all other detail is ink and watercolor manuscript. Complete with 15 maps. Title (or perhaps lettered front wrapper) laid onto a sheet of contemporary paper forming the title of the book.