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Important Early 19th Century American Wall Map

Important early map of the United States, being one of the earliest large format separately issued maps to include details of the Lewis & Clark Expedition up the Missouri River.

A exceptional example of an elegantly engraved and attractively colored work. The map has a number of unusual features, reflective of the many geo-political changes occurring in the rapidly expanding United States of the second decade of the 19th century. It is one of just a few maps to show Alabama as a territory, which existed for only three years, 1817-19. The then-recently admitted states of Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), and Illinois (1818) are all shown as states on the map. "North Western Territory," is shown in the area of present-day Wisconsin. The original Northwest Territory ceased to exist in 1803, and we could find no record of an official U. S. territory labeled as above.

Texas is an amorphous area bounded in the north by the Red River but with no clear territorial identity. Information from the explorations of Lewis and Clark is incorporated in the upper Missouri River area. The northern boundary with Canada is strange: it follows the 47.5 parallel and the Upper Missouri River, with a curious note about the lands of his "Catholic Majesty." The map provides quite extensive coverage of the road system of the United States, qualifying the work as a "Travellers Guide," as it is identified in its title.

Described by Ralph Brown in Ristow as "perhaps the most enterprising commercial map-maker of the period," Samuel Lewis (c. 1754-1822) had a hand in many if not most publications dating from the infancy of American map production. In addition to large scale maps like the ones referred to above, Lewis supplied maps for the first American-published atlas, M. Carey's of 1795, the small-format version of the same appearing a year later, and subsequent editions of both. Lewis also contributed maps to the publications of several other, early American map publishers, including Fielding Lucas.

Rumsey states that the map is "probably influenced by Melish, nonetheless this is an outstanding map, with much of interest in the Missouri Territory." A very nice clean example, much better than most which appear on the market (see e.g. the Rumsey example for a more typical example) .

Wheat 332; Streeter 3804; Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 265; Rumsey #2482.