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Abraham Bradley was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. He is an important figure not only in early American cartography, but in early American history as well. Initially, Bradley trained as a lawyer and moved to the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania to practice. There he met Judge Thomas Pickering, who took Bradley with him to Philadelphia when he was appointed Postmaster General by George Washington in 1791. 

As Pickering's clerk, Bradley created postal maps which showed the budding system of post offices and routes. A self-taught mapmaker, Bradley quickly gained considerable skill and became well-known for this carefully drawn maps. His most famous map is the postal route map of 1796, which shows the young United States and includes an innovative table that calculated the time it would take a letter to travel around the country. 

In 1799, Bradley was appointed Assistant Postmaster General, a position he would hold until 1829. As part of his duties, Bradley supervised the moving of the General Post Office Department from Philadelphia to Washington DC. In 1804, with the help of British mapmaker Aaron Arrowsmith, Bradley updated his postal map, which featured in practically every post office in the states and territories. Bradley would continue to create route maps, and to update his most famous map, throughout his career, including in 1810 and 1825.  

During the burning of Washington DC in the War of 1812, Bradley housed the records and archives of the General Post Office Department in his Maryland farmhouse. His service with the Post Office came to an abrupt end, however, with the election of Andrew Jackson. Although he had served under five Postmasters General, Jackson dismissed Bradley for partisan reasons. Bradley then served as secretary to the Franklin Insurance Company. He died at his farmhouse in 1838, leaving behind eight children. He is remembered for his careful custodianship of the nascent Post Office, and for creating maps that made Americans feel connected to their fellow citizens. 

Place/Date:
Philadelphia / 1797
Size:
8 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
67271

Archived

Place/Date:
Boston / 1797
Size:
16 x 8.5 inches
Condition:
VG-
Stock#:
2313
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797 (1802)
Size:
16 x 8.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
25839
Place/Date:
Philadelphia / 1796 (1800)
Size:
35.5 x 31 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
40648
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797
Size:
15.5 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
2553
Place/Date:
Boston / 1804
Size:
15.5 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
m0422
Place/Date:
Boston / 1804
Size:
15.5 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
22045
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797
Size:
15.5 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
38119
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797 (1802)
Size:
16 x 8.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
39773
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797
Size:
15 x 7.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
46674
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797
Size:
15 x 7.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
51147
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797
Size:
15 x 7.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
51173
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797 (1802)
Size:
16 x 8.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
53377
Place/Date:
Boston / 1797
Size:
15 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
68042