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Stock# 78541

Scarce Survey Atlas of the Mississippi River Commission

An attractive and extensive mapping of the lower Mississippi River, south from the Ohio River. This atlas presents the results of an ambitious survey starting from the Ohio River at Columbus, Kentucky, south to the Mississippi Delta. Smith S. Leach supervised the Mississippi River Commission survey, which was authorized by an act of Congress in 1879 to undertake this significant mapping project.  The massive survey involved the cooperation of three separate government departments: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi River Commission, and the U.S. Coast Survey. The maps are remarkably detailed and made on a very large scale. They depict cotton fields, plans of villages and cities, roads, canebrakes, Indian mounds, railroads, plantations, and farms (indicating ownership), churches, cultivated fields (with specific crops grown indicated, such as sugarcane, cotton, etc.), ports, streams, rivers, levees, bays, sand and mud bars, channel lines, canals, fences, timber (with source indicated, such as cypress, cottonwood, etc.), swamps (open and wooded), and the like.

Most or all of the maps are credited as "compiled and drawn by Edward Molitor," who also engraved the title page (which was printed by Buxton & Skinner, St. Louis). Edward Molitor, a native of Wurttemberg, Germany, was a prominent cartographer noted for his detailed mapmaking on various government survey projects, including charts for the Great Lakes Survey. The lithography for the present maps was accomplished by Julius Bien & Co., the renowned New York lithographic firm.


This atlas is extremely scarce, with only a single copy noted in modern-day auction records (which was an ex-library copy sold in 2001).


This copy belonged to Capt. Walter Carroll, a noted riverboat captain who piloted the coal tow-boat W. W. O'Neil on the Ohio River.

Condition Description
Oblong folio. Contemporary leather, rebacked with brown cloth. Gilt-stamped on front cover: "Capt. Walter Carroll, Str. W. W. O'Neil. 1889." Leather worn, with boards exposed at corners. Binding with significant red rot. 37 lithographed leaves: [1, title], [1, table of distance], [3, index maps], [32, detail maps]. Complete. Some dust soiling to title page. Lower fore-edge corner of title page chipped, with minor paper loss (printing unaffected). Minimal light dampstaining to extreme fore-edge margins of several leaves (printing not affected).
Phillips Maps, page 442