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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, born in 1800. 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. That was 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. Next, in 1835, Colton published John Farmer’s important maps of Michigan and Wisconsin. 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 his 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 great 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, but later, 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 / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
63444
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57468
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53940
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG-
Stock#:
55696
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
56481
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49207
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
50860
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
53800
Place/Date:
New York / 1867
Size:
24 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
54937
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
56843
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57401
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57403
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57904
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58267
Place/Date:
New York / 1858
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
59075
Place/Date:
New York / 1858
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
60379
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48587
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49406
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
51023
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
51377
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
53857
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
54043
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55272
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55500
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57304
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57936
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58805
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
25 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
59392
Place/Date:
New York / 1858
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
60094
Place/Date:
New York / 1866
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG-
Stock#:
60658
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
25 x 16.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
42209
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
47956
Place/Date:
New York / 1872
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49401
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
51376
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55599
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
56316
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
56657
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58681
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61202
Place/Date:
New-York / 1865
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
49334
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
52333
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
55430
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
60595
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
53921

Archived

Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
9219
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
17361
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
17362
Place/Date:
New York / 1833
Size:
21 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
54858
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1257
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
8989
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
9003
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG-
Stock#:
12652
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
24086
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0444
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0970
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
1168
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
4515
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6074
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6076
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6079
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
19768
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6115
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6197
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
9005
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
m0795
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
22487
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
19771
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
13705
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
13709
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
15277
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
27 x 16.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
17481
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
19573
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
26 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
23458
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0975
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
23979
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
9001
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
m0677
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
12 x 7.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
m0715
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
22823
Place/Date:
New York / 1864
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
22649
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
23166
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
26804
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
36492
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
0862
Place/Date:
New York / 1858
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
12659
Place/Date:
New York / 1858
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
12662
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
12667
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
12803
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
2045
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
2052
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
8138