Map of Arkansas, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
Shaw Galleries

Map of Arkansas, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Regular price $180.00
Map of Arkansas, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
The late antebellum period in Arkansas is marked as a time of progress. The growing demand for cotton allowed Arkansas citizens to participate in the market economy for the first time. The most popular way to grow cotton in this time period was the plantation system, which caught on in popularity amongst most citizens, as most considered themselves farmers and ranchers. Arkansas’s cotton production in 1850 totaled to 26,000,000 pounds of cotton. Arkansas grew rapidly thanks to cotton production, with the southeastern portion of the state becoming more prosperous than the northwestern portion of the state. This would wedge a divide between the two regions of the state, and though cotton had propelled them into prosperous conditions, it is this reliance on cotton in which would set Arkansas, as well as other states in the south, behind the rest of America for decades.
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.

- Ashley Nicholson

Plate size: 12" x 15"

Condition: Some slight foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition 


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