Map of the State of Illinois, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
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Map of the State of Illinois, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

Regular price $275.00

Map of the State of Illinois, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait

This hand-colored atlas map depicting topographic detail of Illinois is a steel plate engraving created circa 1850 by American mapmaker Samuel Augustus Mitchell. Railroad construction in the Midwest exploded throughout the decade of the 1850s. In 1850, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, the first constructed Chicago railway, saw at least another ten pass through the city by the end of the decade. In only five years, railways extended throughout the entire state, at least doubling in mileage. With more railroad stops, passenger trains allowed for more transportation to these regions, causing a surge in resident population. In the Midwest, Chicago became central to the railroad industry. In 1850, the city's population of 30,000 increased to over 100,000 by the end of the decade because of new railroad traffic. As a result of this explosive industry boom, Illinois became one of the top five most populated states in the nation. 

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: 13" x 16"

Condition: Some foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition 


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