Map of Kentucky, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Map of Kentucky, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Regular price $200.00

This hand-colored atlas map is a steel plate engraving created circa 1850 by American mapmaker Samuel Augustus Mitchell. In antebellum Kentucky, tobacco production was a primary source of wealth for the state. Over twenty-five percent of the state's population were slaves who worked on such plantations. Despite the grip slavery had there, abolitionist publications, such as the Louisville Examiner, were distributed across the state. Anti-slavery advocates even attempted to hold the Third Constitutional Convention to encourage abolition, but were overwhelmed by pro-slavery attendees. Kentucky was also the home of Henry Clay, the famous orator and U.S. Senator, whose Whig politics towed the line between state's rights for the South and the avoidance of secession. His proposed Omnibus Bill was the basis for what would become the Compromise of 1850 that is credited for delaying the inevitable conflict of the Civil War. 

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 12" x 14". Published by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.

- Onastasia Youssef

Plate size: 12" x 14"

Condition: Some minor foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition

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