"The map is most extraordinary and rare..." - David Rumsey
The Most Important Zoomorphic Map of the United States.
Famous map of the United States in the shape of an Eagle, from an extremely rare geography book, Rudiments of National Knowledge, Presented To The Youth Of The United States, And To Enquiring Foreigners. By A Citizen Of Pennsylvania." Published by E.L. Carey & A. Hart, Philadelphia, 1833.
The map represents America as an eagle; the states are shown in outline color with the eagle transparently sitting atop the nation. The eagle's head coincides with New England (except Maine), its eye with Vermont, its neckline follows Lakes Ontario and Erie, and the wing outlines Lakes Huron and Superior (and further west the eventual Canadian-American border at the 49th parallel). The eagle's breast follows the Atlantic seaboard; its talons form Florida - though the claws protrude far from the coastline towards Cuba. The great inland empire of Louisiana is already being divided into states and territories, with Louisiana and Missouri separated from the 'mainland' of the formerly French lands. The tail feathers are shaped to follow a border that would not exist after 1848. Texas is labeled and illustrated just before its independence two years later. The feathers follow the inland U.S. border as it moves north and disappears out of sight at the area disputed with Great Britain. The map also includes state boundaries, major cities, and hydrological features.
As noted by David Rumsey (4609:
The map is most extraordinary and rare: it shows an eagle superimposed in engraving and color on the United States, with the Talons in Florida, the eye in Vermont, and the wings spreading west to the Missouri Territory. It is beautifully done.
It is believed that Joseph Churchman authored the text and his brother, James Churchman, authored the map. That being said, we have been advised that Joseph Churchman did not have a brother named James Churchman, and this reference (repeated in Phillips Maps) may be in error.
The engraving was done by Isaac W. Moore.
While Churchman's book can be found in several institutional collections, the book and map rarely appear on the antiquarian market.
The most recent example of the map appearing on the market was at Freeman's Auctions as Lot 206 on 10 November 2021, where it sold for just under $45,000 without the book.