Map of Tennessee, 1850, Mitchell and Cowperthwait
This hand-colored atlas map is a steel plate engraving created circa 1850 by American mapmaker Samuel Augustus Mitchell. In 1850, Nashville, Tennessee - shown in detail in the upper left-hand corner of the map - hosted the Nashville Convention. Held on June 3rd, it was a meeting of almost two-hundred representatives from Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Mississippi. At this time, the Southern economy relied on slave-based agriculture, and politicians were concerned with the possibility of slavery being prohibited in Western territories. Such action by the federal government was perceived by Southern states as an abuse of power. While the nine-day discussion of secession came to naught, Jefferson Davis (later President of the Confederate States) and others would continue to promote secession, particularly after the Compromise of 1850 -enacted that September - halted the growth of slavery to the Western territories.
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 15" x 11.5". Published by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.
Plate size: 15" x 11.5"
Condition: Some foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition