Abel Buell's New and Correct Map of the United States, 1784

This landmark map of extraordinary significance to the historical record of the United States was published by Abel Buell in 1784. Notably, this is the first map of the newly independent United States compiled, printed, and published in America by an American. Additionally, it is also the first map to be copyrighted in the United States. Only seven copies are known to exist and survive in major institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain. The copy on display is considered to be the best preserved of all extant editions and was officially deposited with the Library by Mr. David Rubenstein in January 2010.

Abel Buell. A New and Correct Map of the United States of North America: Layd down from the Latest Observations and Best Authorities Agreeable to the Peace of 1783. . . . New Haven, Connecticut: Abel Buell, 1784. On deposit to the Library of Congress from David M. Rubenstein

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First Published Map of the State of Massachusetts, 1798

The state of Massachusetts, home to the port city of Boston and the scene of several pivotal battles in the American Revolution, was the sixth state admitted to the Union when it ratified the Constitution on February 6, 1788. Three years later, in 1791, Osgood Carleton, one of the first professional mapmakers in the new nation, approached the Massachusetts State Legislature to fund the creation of the first state map based on original surveys. Carleton asked that each town and village in the state provide an accurate map of their location so that he could compile an authoritative map based on local knowledge. This method of production, Carleton hoped, would set his map apart from any other commercial competitor. Due to delays in gathering information and engraving, his first map was not published until 1798, with two later editions published in 1801 and 1802.

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First Map of the State of Maine Printed in the United States, 1820

The state of Maine, originally known as the District of Maine, was purchased by the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1676. Maine remained a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until March 15, 1820, when it was admitted to the Union as part of the Missouri Compromise and became the twenty-third state.

The map shown here, published in 1820 by Moses Greenleaf (1777–1834), an outspoken advocate of Maine statehood, is the first separately issued map of the newly formed state. The map depicts the existing road network, boundaries of the original six counties, as well as detailed information on the rivers, streams, and lakes.

Moses Greenleaf. Map of the State of Maine, 1820. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (001.00.00)

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Early Map of the State of Pennsylvania, 1829

The state of Pennsylvania, as seen on this colorful 1829 map showing railroad and county boundaries by Anthony Finley (1790–1840), was the second state admitted to the Union by ratifying the Constitution on December 12, 1787. Commercial cartography in the early nineteenth century was a thriving business. Originally specializing in scientific works, Finley switched the focus of his publishing house to concentrate on the more lucrative atlas and map production market in 1824. In 1829, Finley introduced the map shown here, which is the earliest general map of Pennsylvania that shows the state’s railroads.

Anthony Finley. Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 1829. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (008.00.00)

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First Map of the State of New Hampshire Printed in the United States, 1795

Situated between the states of Vermont and Maine in New England, the state of New Hampshire ratified the Constitution on June 21, 1788, and became the ninth state admitted to the Union. This map was engraved in 1794 by Samuel Lewis (1754–1822), a Philadelphia-based engraver, for Mathew Carey’s 1795 American Atlas, which was the first atlas of the United States published in the United States. Lewis’s map includes county and town boundaries, road networks in the state, mountain ranges, and a curious note indicating that the eastern New Hampshire’s “White Hills appear many leagues off at sea, like white clouds just rising above the horizon.”

Samuel Lewis and James Smither. The State of New Hampshire Compiled Chiefly from Actual Surveys. Possibly Philadelphia, 1794. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (002.00.00)

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Early Map of the State of New York Printed in the United States, 1804

Published in 1804 by Simeon De Witt (1756–1834), the map shown here is one of the earliest separately published folding maps of the state of New York. The map shows western New York as virtually undeveloped and the major cities of Buffalo and Rochester do not appear.

De Witt served as George Washington’s personal mapmaker during the American Revolution. After the war, he was appointed Surveyor General of the State of New York and remained in the position for fifty years until his death. The mapmaker also served as one of the Commissioners of the City of New York who laid out the famous grid plan of the city. In 1790 Washington offered De Witt the position of Surveyor General of the United States, but DeWitt chose to remain in New York.

Simeon De Witt. A Map of the State of New York. Possibly Albany, 1804. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (004.00.00)

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Early Map of the State of Rhode Island, 1796

Rhode Island, formally known as Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations, was the last of the original thirteen colonies to ratify the Constitution on May 29, 1790.

The first state map of Rhode Island appeared in 1795. This map appeared one year later in William Winterbotham’s The American Atlas published in Philadelphia by John Reid. Winterbotham’s Atlas was the second commercial atlas of the United States published in the U.S.

Rhode Island, 1796. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. (006.00.00)

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First Map of the State of Connecticut, 1795

On January 9, 1788 the state of Connecticut ratified the Constitution becoming the fifth state admitted to the Union. Mathew Carey’s 1795 map entitled Connecticut from the Best Authorities, was originally prepared for his American Atlas (1795). Editions of the map were also included in Carey’s General Atlas and General Atlas for Guthrie’s Geography Improved. The first editions of all three atlas titles were published in Philadelphia in 1795.

This map was engraved by Amos Doolittle, an engraver from New Haven, Connecticut, who also engraved two other maps in this exhibition: Abel Buell’s 1784 New and Correct Map of the United States of North America and Mathew Carey’s 1795 Vermont, from Actual Survey.

Mathew Carey. Connecticut, from the Best Authorities. [S.I., 1795]. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (007.00.00)

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Early Map of the State of Vermont Printed in the United States, 1795

Vermont, from Actual Survey was issued just four years after Vermont became the fourteenth state to enter the Union. Prior to becoming a separate state, Vermont was part of New Hampshire. This map was engraved by American engraver and silversmith Amos Doolittle for Mathew Carey’s American Atlas.

Mathew Carey was a native of Dublin who immigrated to Philadelphia in 1784 where he established a publishing house. In 1795, Carey issued this map of Vermont in his American Atlas, the very first atlas of the United Stated printed in the new republic.

Amos Doolittle. Vermont, from Actual Survey. Philadelphia, 1795. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (003.00.00)

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Railroad Map of the Eastern United States, 1856

Published in 1856, this decorative map showing the railroad networks in the Eastern United States provides a stark comparison to early state maps. In Pennsylvania, for example, the Pennsylvania Railroad connected Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and would play an instrumental role in distributing oil from the western portions of the state while the smaller Lehigh Valley Railroad connected Philadelphia to the important coal producing regions of northeastern Pennsylvania.

In both cases, as well as in the other states shown on this map, the nation’s growing railroad network fostered the economic growth of the United States.

Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning. Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning’s Rail Road Map of the Eastern United States. New York, 1856. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (009.00.00)

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Early Map of the State of New Jersey, 1795

New Jersey was the third state to enter the Union when it ratified the Constitution on December 13, 1787. Seven years later, prolific map publisher Mathew Carey (1760–1839) prepared this map of New Jersey for inclusion in his atlas entitled Carey's American Edition of Guthrie's Geography Improved.

Carey, as well as other late eighteenth century publishers in the United States, borrowed freely from works published elsewhere. William Guthrie (1708–1770), for example, published his Atlas to Guthrie’s System of Geography in London in 1795. Carey acquired the work, re-engraved some of the plates, and published it with a slightly different title under his own name.

Lewis, Samuel. The State of New Jersey, Compiled from the Most Authentic Information. [Philadelphia, M. Carey, 1795]. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (010.00.00)

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First Map of the States of Maryland and Delaware, and Washington, D.C.

Completed in 1794 and published the following year, Dennis Griffith’s map is a prime example of eighteenth-century commercial cartography. It is the earliest printed map to show the states of Maryland, the seventh state admitted to the Union on April 28, 1788, and Delaware the first state admitted on December 7, 1787. For members of the original thirteen colonies, as both Delaware and Maryland were, order of statehood was determined by when the state ratified the Constitution. Shown in the inset is an early map of the City of Washington or the “Federal Territory,” now known as Washington, D.C.

Some question whether the map was the result of an “Actual Survey,” as its title indicates, and believe that Griffith drew on information found on existing maps of the time. For example, the inset map showing the City of Washington is most certainly based on Andrew Ellicott’s 1792 city plan. Ellicott, who served for a brief period under Pierre L’Enfant, a Frenchman who drafted the initial plan of the city in 1791, was tasked with completing and engraving the first city plan in 1792, after L’Enfant departed from the project.

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Confederate States of America Map of Virginia

Published in Richmond, Virginia, in 1862 by the firm of West and Johnston, this is a rare example of a state map produced by the Confederate States of America. In 1862 the Union Army was steadily advancing on the Confederate capital of Richmond. In order to help defend the state, Confederate general Robert E. Lee ordered his topographic engineers to prepare detailed maps of Virginia, such as the one shown here.

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Early Map of the State of Kentucky

The state of Kentucky was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1792, making it the fifteenth state of the United States. In 1793, Elihu Barker created his Map of Kentucky from Actual Survey, the most accurate map of Kentucky at the time. The map includes Kentucky as well as the bordering “North Western Territory,” “Virginia,” and the “Tennassee [sic] Government.” The map divides Kentucky into nine counties, but it does not define precise county borders. It illustrates the mountains of eastern Kentucky and those between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers in western Kentucky and indicates salt licks throughout the state as well as principal trails, settlements, and towns, which include Washington, Charleston, Lexington, Versailles, Louisville, and Stanford. Barker also provides useful descriptive notes, such as “fertile high land where it is reported are quantities of stones of a sulphurous effluvia” and “barren naked land.” The map was engraved for Mathew Carey, an immigrant from Ireland who in 1795 published the first atlas in the United States.

Elihu Barker and Mathew Carey. A Map of Kentucky from Actual Survey. Philadelphia: Engraved for and sold by Mathew Carey, 1793. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (012.00.00)

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One of the Earliest Printed Maps of Tennessee

On June 1, 1796, Tennessee became the sixteenth state and the last to be admitted during the eighteenth century. This 1817 wall map by Samuel Lewis is one of the earliest following statehood created soon after the very first printed map of Tennessee appeared in Mathew Carey’s 1795 American Atlas, the first atlas of the United States published in the United States. This map includes county and town boundaries, road networks in the state, mountain ranges, and the state’s namesake―the Tinnasi River―named for an Indian village.

Samuel Lewis. The State of Tennessee. [S.I., ca. 1817]. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (013.00.00)

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First Map of the State of North Carolina

On November 21, 1789, less than six months after the inauguration of George Washington, North Carolina became the twelfth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Published in 1807 by Jonathan Price and John Strother, The First Actual Survey of the State of North Carolina was the first map of the state based on actual surveys and observations. The map depicts North Carolina from the “Dismal Swamp” on the state’s northern border to the “Green Swamp” on its southern border, and from the Atlantic Ocean on the state’s east coast to the “Boundary Not Yet Settled” to the west.

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First Map to Include South Carolina’s Railroad System

Published in 1836 by Henry S. Tanner, nearly fifty years after South Carolina was admitted to the Union, this is the earliest general map to show the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company’s railway system, which ran from Charleston to Hamburg, South Carolina. Completed in 1833, its 136 miles of track made it the longest railroad in the world. In addition to railroads, the map depicts existing and planned roads, road distances, canals, post offices, ferry landings, and steamship routes.

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Early Map of the State of Georgia

The state of Georgia became the fourth state admitted to the Union on January 2, 1788, when it officially ratified the U.S. Constitution. This map shows the state borders extending through present-day Alabama and Mississippi, as it was not until 1802 that the state’s western border was finalized after Georgia transferred land to the United States.

This map was engraved in 1794 by William Barker, a Philadelphia-based engraver, for inclusion in Mathew Carey’s 1795 American Atlas. Barker’s map includes county and town boundaries, and locates Indian tribes, including the Chacataws (Choctaws), Cherokees, Creeks, Natches (Natchez), and Seminoles.

William Barker and Mathew Carey. Georgia, from the Latest Authorities. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1795. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (016.00.00)

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First Map of the State of Florida

The first-known expedition to the area now known as Florida was led by Spanish explorer Ponce De León in 1513. He christened the land “La Florida” or “land of flowers.” Published one year after Florida became a U.S. state in 1845, this map shows cities, rivers, swamps, and military forts throughout the new state.

The creator of the map, J. Goldsbourough Bruff, was a native of Washington, D.C. At an early age he was admitted to West Point, but after only two years he was forced to leave the prestigious military academy after participating in a duel. He later became a professional cartographer and draftsman, as well as an amateur artist and adventurer. Bruff created this map while he was employed by the U.S. Army’s Bureau of Topographical Engineers.

Joseph Goldsborough Bruff. The State of Florida. [S. I.], 1846. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (017.00.00)

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First Map of the State of Alabama

Published by Scottish mapmaker John Melish in 1819, the same year that Alabama became the twenty-second state to join the Union, this unique map highlights cities, road and trail networks, rivers, the state’s townships and ranges, and “Remarks, Statistical and Geological” that describe the state’s geography.

Melish was a prolific author, geographer, and map publisher based in Philadelphia. From 1811 to 1822 he issued several travel guides and is best known for his early-nineteenth-century maps of the continental United States. He also produced a series of loose sheet maps, such as this one of Alabama, for eventual publication in an atlas.

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Earliest Map of Mississippi Published in the United States

On December 20, 1817, Mississippi became the twentieth state admitted to the Union. Prior to 1817, the area was known as the Mississippi Territory. This map, one of the earliest maps to show the state of Mississippi and the Alabama Territory, was prepared for Mathew Carey’s 1817 General Atlas. The map depicts early counties and parishes in the south (Baldwin, Washington, Green, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Amite, Wilkinson, Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Claiborne, and Warren), as well as towns, forts, roads, Indian villages, and “Halfway Houses.”

Francis Shallus. The State of Mississippi and Alabama Territory. [S.I.: s.n., 181-]. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (019.00.00)

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Early Map of Arkansas

On June 15, 1836, Arkansas became the twenty-fifth state admitted to the Union―nearly fifteen years after Missouri became the twenty-fourth state in 1821 (the longest gap between states achieving statehood to date). Published by S. Augustus Mitchell in 1847, the map marks canals and proposed canals, railroads and proposed railroads, towns, rivers, major roads, distances, and more. A key at the top of the map delineates steamboat routes and their distances.

Mitchell, originally a teacher, became a mapmaker in the 1830s after being dissatisfied with inaccuracies in maps printed in school textbooks. During the next twenty years, he became one of the most prominent mapmakers of the mid-nineteenth century.

Samuel Augustus Mitchell. A New Map of Arkansas with its Canals, Roads & Distances. Philadelphia, 1847. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (020.00.00)

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First Map of Louisiana

In 1803 the United States acquired the Louisiana Territory from France for fifteen-million dollars. The Louisiana Purchase, as it is known, doubled the size of the nation and the land would eventually comprise fifteen new states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, and most or parts of Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

The state of Louisiana, originally called the Territory of Orleans, became the eighteenth state admitted to the Union on April 30, 1812. The first map of the new state, shown here, first appeared in 1814 edition of Mathew Carey’s General Atlas.

Mathew Carey. Louisiana. [S.I., 1814]. Printed map. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (021.00.00)

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