The First Map of the State of Pennsylvania From Indigenous Surveys
Reading Howell's map a cartographic landmark in the mapping of Pennsylvania and one of the most influential maps of Pennsylvania to be published.
First issued in 1792, Howell's map is the first large format map of Pennsylvania published in America following the Revolution. Wheat & Brun describe the map as the best map of Pennsylvania published in the 18th Century.
Howell's map is earliest map of Pennsylvania to show its exact boundaries, including the western limits. For the first time on a printed map, Howell records the information gathered from the many original regional and local surveys made after the Revolutionary War and during a time of rapid westward expansion. Originally issued in four sheets (with copper plates engraved per Howell's instructions in London, but final publication in Philadelphia), the map was published over a period of several months, with many additions and corrections to the map of historical interest, and which are also useful in identifying the various states of the four plates.
A reduced 2 sheet edition of Howell's map was subsequently issued 1792. Finally, this very rare enlarged edition was published in 1811 (the present example), which adds for the first time a large decorative cartouche not present in earlier editions. Published by Kimber & Conrad & Johnson & Warner in 1811, the map was later re-issued in 1816 and 1817.
The map remained the most accurate map of Pennsylvania until the publication of John Melish's map of Pennsylvania in 1820.