Map of Michigan, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
Shaw Galleries

Map of Michigan, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Regular price $195.00

Map of Michigan, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

This hand colored map is a steel plate engraving dating to 1850 by American mapmaker Samuel Augustus Mitchell. In 1850, Michigan made changes to the constitution it had created 18 years prior. These revisions made to the constitution of Michigan included changing the Secretary of State, Attorney General, auditor general, and Supreme Court from appointed positions to elected positions; they also added articles in regards to finance and taxation, local governments and corporations, as well as a provision in which required revisions to this constitution be submitted every 16 years. One of the more significant additions to the Constitution of Michigan of 1850 was the direction to build an agricultural school. The actual agricultural school would not be officially established until the mid-1850s as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. This school would eventually transform into what we know today as Michigan State University.

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: 12.4” x 15.4”

Condition: Some minor foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition 

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