Map of Florida, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
This hand-colored atlas map depicting topographic detail of Florida, and three inset city maps of Penascola, Tallahassee, and St. Augustine, is a steel plate engraving created circa 1850 by American mapmaker Samuel Augustus Mitchell. Five years before this map's creation, Florida joined the United States of America. The beginning of the 1850s was a landmark year in the road to secession in the South. It was then that the Compromise of 1850 stirred anti-Northern sentiment as Southern politicians grew concerned that the federal government would try to abolish slavery altogether. In 1850, over 39,000 African-Americans are enslaved, nearly half of the state's overall population. Also during this time, the United States sought to gain more land in order to boost cotton production. Conflicts with the Seminole Indians, who fought to protect their lands, resulted in the Third Seminole War a few years later in 1855. An unjust victory against the Seminole Indians allowed wealthy American planters to create more plantations, further increasing their stake in the slave trade.
Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792-1868) turned his attention to mapmaking in the 1830s, due to his dissatisfaction with available school maps. He developed a map publishing business that would make him and later his son the most prominent American map publishers of the nineteenth century. By collaborating with prominent mapmakers and engravers of the day, such as James H. Young and Henry S. Tanner, Mitchell ensured that the maps he published were of the highest quality. During the 1850s, he partnered with Thomas, Cowperthwait, & Company to publish his A New Universal Atlas and his General Atlas. In 1860, his son Samuel Augustus, Jr, joined the company and he ensured that the Mitchell name remained an important one well into the 1880s.
Thomas, Cowperthwait, and Company was founded sometime in the early 1800s by Joseph Thomas and Hulings Cowperthwait. It operated under this name until 1853. The following year the company name changed to Cowperthwait, Desilver, and Butler. However, this configuration only lasted for about a year, before it became H. Cowperthwait & Company in 1856. After 1860, it appears the company experienced several more alterations, before ceasing publication at the end of the century.
This original antique map is single paged, as issued, with a plate size of 11.75" x 14.5". Published by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.
Plate size: 11.75" x 14.5"
Condition: Some minor foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition