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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 / 1859
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
51377
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 / 1867
Size:
24 x 17.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57939
Place/Date:
New York / 1866
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
51728
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
54043
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
54629
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
56839
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70257
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
51024
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
52776
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 / 1859
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
62660
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70071
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70856
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70933
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
13 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71728
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
16.5 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
56872
Place/Date:
New York / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61103
Place/Date:
New York / 1859
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
61162
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
14.5 x 12 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67374
Place/Date:
New York / 1857
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
69996
Place/Date:
New-York / 1865
Size:
12 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70570
Place/Date:
New-York / 1855
Size:
13 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70568
Place/Date:
New York / 1860
Size:
13 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70798
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15.7 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70973
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70966
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15.5 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71054
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71629
Place/Date:
New York / 1858
Size:
11 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71839
Place/Date:
New York / 1856
Size:
15 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
71830
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 / 1865
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
53921
Place/Date:
New York / 1862
Size:
11 x 9 inches each
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58728
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
12.5 x 15.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71287
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
12 x 14.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71510
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
13 x 15 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71543
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
16 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71659
Place/Date:
New York / 1861 circa
Size:
8.5 x 11 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
70954
Place/Date:
New York / 1858
Size:
15.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
71658
Place/Date:
New York / 1855
Size:
15 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
66349

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