Nice example of Anthony Finley's 1824 map of Alabama.
Alabama officially became the 22nd state of the United States on December 14, 1819, only a few years prior to the creation of this map. Finley's work provides an important snapshot of the state's early years of development.
The map features a distinct color schemes to differentiate between counties, and denotes towns, roads, rivers, and mountains. The northern part of the state is particularly detailed, even though it was still sparsely populated and contained several yet-unestablished counties. Intriguingly, Finley's map prominently demarcates large areas as lands belonging to indigenous tribes, such as the Cherokee, Upper Creek Indians, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. Various forts are also clearly depicted, hinting at the presence of military establishments and the ongoing conflicts during this period.
A unique historical quirk represented in this map is the inclusion of Decatur County, north of the Tennessee River. This county existed only from December 30, 1822, to December 26, 1825, in the northeastern part of the state, making its presence an indicator of the map's creation within this timeframe.
The map pre-dates the formation of Dale County, located between Covington and Henry Counties in the southeastern corner of the state. Dale County was not established until 1824.
Anthony Finley (1784-1836) was an American map publisher. Little is known about his life. He is presumed to have been born in Philadelphia, where he also died. A publisher, Finley was also involved in several Philadelphia civic and professional societies such as the Philadelphia Apprentices’ Library. He may have been in business as early as 1809 and his first publication dates from ca. 1811.
His first maps also date from this year, with two maps in Daniel Edward Clarke’s Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The first atlas published by Finley appeared in 1818, the Atlas classica, or, Select maps of ancient geography, both sacred and profane, for the use of colleges and schools in the United States. He is best known for his A New General Atlas Comprising a Complete Set of Maps (1824), which was a bestseller. There were two editions in 1824, with annual editions until 1834.
Finley was part of the first generation of American publishers who produced high quality, precise maps on American soil. He was in competition with other Philadelphia publishers, for example Henry S. Tanner. Finley’s A New American Atlas Designed Principally to Illustrate the Geography of the United States of America (1826) closely mirrors Tanner’s A New American Atlas Containing Maps of the Several States of the North American Union, with similar groupings of maps; the main difference is the smaller scale of Finley’s maps. Finley printed two editions of this atlas.