Map of Connecticut, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
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Map of Connecticut, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Regular price $200.00

Map of Connecticut, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

When the United States enacted the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, it meant that slaveholders were legally permitted to capture escaped slaves and local officials throughout the nation were required to help. The Act discouraged the aid of "fugitive" escapees by threatening a penalty of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. Published in the newspaper of Hartford in 1850, news of the Act was intended to spread from there throughout the state. Connecticut's Underground Railroad passed through Hartford; though, slave-hunters often waited at the docks of the Connecticut River in order to capture runaway slaves before they continued their journey North. Anti-slavery sentiment was increased when only two years later, the Hartford native, Harriet Beecher Stowe, published Uncle Tom's Cabin to demonstrate the cure realities of being a slave during the 1800s. 

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.

- Mackenzie Pleskovic

Plate size: 15" x 12" 

Condition: Some minor foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition


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