Weiland's Atlas of the United States and British North America
The Enigmatic "German Carey & Lea"
With Fine Copper Engraved Maps of the States and Territories, including Florida Territory, Arkansas Territory, Missouri Territory & Oregon Territory, Michigan Territory and Northwest Territory
A very rare and beautiful German atlas of 30 maps of the United States and Canada, dated between 1824 and 1828.
The present atlas volume comprises a complete set of Weiland's maps of the United States, including one map for each state. What makes this example special is that it seems to be one the few examples (and the only one known to us) which focuses exclusively on the states and territories of the United States (with the exception of the happy inclusion of the nice map of British North America). All other known examples of Weiland's Atlas von Amerika include varying sets of maps covering North America, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America. No two recorded examples of the Weiland Atlas are identical. This is due to the fact that the maps were issued separately, by subscription, and then collected together into composite atlas volumes as required by the original purchaser/compiler. Consequently, there are no "editions" of Weiland's American Atlas, in the strict bibliographical sense.
The present set of maps may be the only known set to constitute a complete group of the maps of the United States and British North America, without other regions.
Over the past 30 years, three sets have appeared at auction, with between 13 and 45 maps.
While Weiland was inspired by Carey & Lea, his maps are really an improvement over the Cary & Lea productions: the present atlas includes several remarkable maps which did not appear in Carey & Lea's atlases. The following three outstanding maps are highly sought after by modern collectors:
- Missouri Territory & Oregon Territory
- Arkansas Territory
- Michigan Territory and Northwest Territory
Weiland's Atlas von Amerika
The maps for Carl Ferdinand Weiland's "Atlas von Amerika" were published between 1823 and 1829 in Weimar by the Geographisches Instituts. The maps were issued by subscription, with new maps and revised maps coming out periodically over the six year history of the work. Some maps are known to exist in as many as three different editions, as Weiland was as meticulous in updating his maps as he was zealous in publishing new ones.
C.F. Weiland was one of the most prolific mapmakers in early 19th century Germany. In his treatise on 19th century maps published in Germany, Jurgen Espenhorst devotes the better part of 75 pages describing the many and varied productions of the Weiland and the Weimar Geographisches Institut.
C.F. Weiland's first cartographic work was published in the early 19th Century. During the next half century, dozens of different works appear bearing his name and maps. One of the most enigmatic of these publications is his so-called Atlas von Amerika. Espenhorst opines that sometime after the 1822 publication of Carey & Lea's Geographical Statistical & Historical Atlas of America (Philadelphia), Weiland became fascinated with this work and commenced publication of an improved version, employing the same style as Carey & Lea, who had in turn copied the historical atlas format first used by Las Casas. Espenhorst states:
Of special interest is the Atlas von America [Atlas of the Americas] pubished by C.F. Weiland and Georg Hassel from 1823 to 1829. . .
For a long time it remained unclear just what precursors Weiland was referring to. All that was known was that the work was based on an atlas that had been created by Henry Charles Lea Carey (1793-1879) and Isaac Lea (1792-1886) and published in 1822 at their house in Philadelphia. . .
. . . Carey and Lea first applied the Las Casas concept to a geographical atlas. The result was a cartographic work with 46 maps, covering all parts of North, Central and South America.
This work produced great interest in Europe almost immediately. The countries of the Spanish Empire in Central and South America had just achieved their independence as a result of popular uprisings, and people were eager to learn about these new nations. As a result, the Carey/Lea atlas was republished in London in 1823, with identical content, but a new title page. Two years later, Jean Alexandre C. Burton [sic] published a French version of the Americas atlas in Paris, which contained 51 maps.
In Weimar, work toward the publication of a German version of the Carey/Lea work must have begun immediately after a copy of the atlas arrived from Philadelphia in 1822. Three sheets were already being offered in the Neue Allgemeine Ephemeriden in 1823. On these sheets, the content of the accompanying text focused on the map around which the text was arranged.
The principal author appears to have been Georg Hassel, because the publication of the atlas ended when he died in 1829.
The publishing house had great hopes for this project, and worked hard to keep the maps up to date. Delivery of installments began in 1823; by the beginning of 1824 seven sheets, covering Central and South America, had been published. By 1826 a number of the maps had been revised, some of them as many as three times.
Of the 52 sheets which were originally planned, 51 were maps. It would appear that not all of them were finally published, however. It is not clear why the remaining five sheets did not appear. The most complete version the author has been able to verify contains only 46 maps. Altogether eight copies are known to the author [Four copies in the US-Library of Congress and University of Chicago (30 maps), National Geographic Society (31 maps) and Roger Baskes (35 maps). Three copies in Germany, Peutinger Gymnasium Ellswanger and Peterman copies (39 maps) Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin 46 maps). Peterman was also aware of a 4th example which was sold in Germany in the 1970s).
Thus, the map sheets of the German version of the Atlas of the Americas must be regarded as extremely rare. On the other hand, the identification of this work is very difficult inasmuch as the sheets have neither page numbers, author names, nor titles. The only identifying information is the inscription "Weimar, im Verlag des Geographischen Instituts. 182x." . . . It is therefore entirely possible that there are other maps from this work which have not been correctly catalogued.
Espenhorst, p. 156-160.
All thirty of the fine copper-engraved maps in the present atlas were printed in Weimar at the Verlage des Geographischen Instituts, from 1824-1828. And while the Weiland American maps were originally issued in fascicles and every such Weiland "American Atlas" we have seen has a unique make-up, the present atlas, which focuses on the United States and Territories, can reasonably be understood as a German version of the Carey & Lea. And in many respects this "German Carey & Lea" is superior to the original and the 1825 French iteration by Buchon. The engraving quality for one is arguably higher in these German maps, and there are numerous improvements to the original cartography.
The maps in the present atlas are as follows: (each map has the preliminary title: Geographisch-statistische und historische Charte)
Florida Gebiet. 1828.
Not in Servies.
Arkansas Gebiet. 1828.
The first printed map devoted to Arkansas. Arkansas Territory was formed in 1819, part of the massive Louisiana Territory. The portrayal of the territory is far more advanced and of a larger scale than that depicted on the map that appeared in Carey & Lea's American Atlas (Philadelphia, 1822) that relegated the depiction of Arkansas to a small lower portion of the map. The present map is also an important document of the early development of Arkansas, showing the fledgling settlements that hug the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, such as Helena and Little Rock, the future state capitol. The territory features nine named counties and one unnamed county, while the vast Indian Lands to the west are indicated as inhabited by the Choctaw nation and the Cherokee peoples who were exiled there from their native lands in the southern Appalachians.
Nord Carolina. 1826.
District Columbia. 1828.
Staates Ohio. 1825.
This extremely rare map of the two Territories is one of the earliest printed mas to focus on the region, drawing from Arrowsmith, Lewis & Clark, the Hudson Bay Company and others for the regional details. The text even references Finley's 1826 Atlas. Focusing on the region traversed by Lewis & Clark, this rare German map is one of rarest cartographic works of the 1820s. The map is one of the best post-Lewis & Clark maps to capture the essence of the American West prior to Annexation of California. The text section provides a detailed accounting of the two Territories, among the earliest such descriptions printed in German.
Missouri und Oregan. Die Gebiete Missouri und Oregan. 1828.
Nord-America. Das Britische Nord=America. 1828.