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G. W. & C. B. Colton was a prominent family firm of mapmakers who were leaders in the American map trade in the nineteenth century. Its founder, Joseph Hutchins Colton (1800-1893), was a Massachusetts native. Colton did not start in the map trade; rather, he worked in a general store from 1816 to 1829 and then as a night clerk at the United States Post Office in Hartford, Connecticut. By 1830, he was in New York City, where he set up his publishing business a year later.

The first printed item with his imprint is dated 1833, a reprint of S. Stiles & Company’s edition of David Burr’s map of the state of New York. He also printed John Disturnell’s map of New York City in 1833. Colton’s next cartographic venture was in 1835, when he acquired the rights to John Farmer’s seminal maps of Michigan and Wisconsin. Another early and important Colton work is his Topographical Map of the City and County of New York and the Adjacent Country (1836). In 1839, Colton began issuing the Western Tourist and Emigrant’s Guide, which was originally issued by J. Calvin Smith.

During this first decade, Colton did not have a resident map engraver; he relied upon copyrights purchased from other map makers, most often S. Stiles & Company, and later Stiles, Sherman & Smith. Smith was a charter member of the American Geographical and Statistical Society, as was John Disturnell. This connection would bear fruit for Colton during the early period in his career, helping him to acquire the rights to several important maps. By 1850, the Colton firm was one of the primary publishers of guidebooks and immigrant and railroad maps, known for the high-quality steel plate engravings with decorative borders and hand watercolors.

In 1846, Colton published Colton’s Map of the United States of America, British Possessions . . . his first venture into the wall map business. This work would be issued until 1884 and was the first of several successful wall maps issued by the firm, including collaborative works with D.G. Johnson. From the 1840s to 1855, the firm focused on the production of railroad maps. Later, it published a number of Civil War maps.

In 1855, Colton finally issued his first atlas, Colton’s Atlas of the World, issued in two volumes in 1855 and 1856. In 1857 the work was reduced to a single volume under the title of Colton’s General Atlas, which was published in largely the same format until 1888. It is in this work that George Woolworth (G. W.) Colton’s name appears for the first time.

Born in 1827 and lacking formal training as a mapmaker, G. W. joined his father’s business and would later help it to thrive. His brother Charles B. (C. B.) Colton would also join the firm. Beginning in 1859, the General Atlas gives credit to Johnson & Browning, a credit which disappears after 1860, when Johnson & Browning launched their own atlas venture, Johnson’s New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas, which bears Colton’s name as the publisher in the 1860 and 1861 editions.

J.H. Colton also published a number of smaller atlases and school geographies, including his Atlas of America (1854-56), his Illustrated Cabinet Atlas (1859), Colton’s Condensed Cabinet Atlas of Descriptive Geography (1864) and Colton’s Quarto Atlas of the World (1865). From 1850 to the early 1890s, the firm also published several school atlases and pocket maps. The firm continued until the late 1890s, when it merged with a competitor and then ceased to trade under the name Colton.

Place/Date:
New York / 1871
Size:
13 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
79646
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
31 x 28.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
66179mj
Place/Date:
New York / 1861 circa
Size:
8.5 x 11 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70954
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
12 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58151
Place/Date:
New York / 1860 circa
Size:
25 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
83923
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16.5 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
71598
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
27 x 18.5 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
84622
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
79937
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
81257
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
88460
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
88989
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
89883
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
10.75 x 14 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
89954
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
26 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
90086
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
90121
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
90120
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
90436
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53060
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57402
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
14.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67374
Place/Date:
Boston, Cleveland, and New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches Map Size
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
68854
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
20 x 27 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
80165
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
81383
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
82160
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
82736
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
82975
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
84477
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
86713
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
87076
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
87962
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
17 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
88537
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
26 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
88809
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
88977
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13.5 x 14.5 inches each
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
90040
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
25 x 17 inches
Condition:
Good
Stock#:
90066
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.7 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70973
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71868
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
71952
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
72286
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
72457

Archived

Place/Date:
New York / 1878
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
76510
Place/Date:
New York / 1878
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
77400
Place/Date:
New York / 1876
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
35442
Place/Date:
New York / 1874
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
35489
Place/Date:
New York / 1874
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
42416
Place/Date:
New York / 1873
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
11283
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
26 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
45309
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46694
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
47469
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
47956
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
25 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49355
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49157
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49205
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49200
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49287
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49350
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49406
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49401
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
26 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
49644
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
26 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
51750
Place/Date:
New York / 1871
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
74402
Place/Date:
New York / 1871
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
75646
Place/Date:
New York / 1871
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
77399
Place/Date:
New York / 1871
Size:
25 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
79018
Place/Date:
New York / 1870
Size:
26.5 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
74253
Place/Date:
New York / 1870 circa
Size:
26.5 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
81415
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
35218
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49353
Place/Date:
New York / 1869 circa
Size:
26.5 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
73711
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
12663
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
4916
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
17492
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
27777
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
29240
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
29248
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
35888
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
38867
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48813
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
27 x 16.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
73242
Place/Date:
New York / 1867
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
23264
Place/Date:
New York / 1867
Size:
24 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
51503
Place/Date:
New York / 1867
Size:
24 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
54937
Place/Date:
New York / 1867
Size:
24 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57939