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Rare early regional map of  Richland District, South Carolina, from Mills' highly important atlas, first published in 1825.

The present example of the map is undated.

Mills' 1825 Atlas Of The State Of South Carolina, Made Under The Authority Of The Legislature; Prefaced With A Geographical, Statistical And Historical Map Of The State . . . . is the first State Atlas published in America (Fielding Lucas Jr. of Baltimore was the publisher, with the maps made by Tanner in Philadelphia).  A second edition of the atlas was issued in 1838.

Rumsey notes that "the District maps are very detailed showing land owners, taverns, Churches, mills, roads and some distances along the roads, swamps, mountains - all in the finest Tanner style of engraving."

Robert Mills, who was born in Charleston in 1781. Mills served as state architect for South Carolina, designing the Lunatic Asylum and many local courthouses, and later won the contest to design the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. The atlas, made for the South Carolina State Legislature, contains 28 district maps and this state map, made from a state sponsored survey of all the districts.

The district maps all identify major land owners and topographic features.  

In his landmark work on 19th century American cartography, American Maps and Mapmakers, Walter Ristow describes the Mills Atlas of South Carolina as ‘A significant first in American cartography.’ He devotes an entire chapter to this production, the only native atlas to bear this distinction. This atlas preceded by four years the state-sponsored atlases of Maine and New York, by Moses Greenleaf and David Burr respectively. There would not be another state atlas for 35 years and those would be commercial, not state-instigated, publications.

The history of the mapping of South Carolina in the early years of the 19th century shows intractable intertwining of production of the Mills atlas and John Wilson’s map of the state published in 1822. Many of the same district surveys were used for both, but Mills redrafted these maps for inclusion in his atlas. Ristow recounts the full history of the atlas, as does the introduction to the 1980 reprint of the atlas published by the Southern Historical Press.


The maps from this atlas are very rare on the market.  This is the first time we have offered this map for sale.

Condition Description
Minor toning and offsetting. Fold split with old archival tape repair on verso and some tape on the front, supporting the fold.