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A Very Fine, Vibrantly Colored Example of
“One of Best Early Large Maps of the United States” (Rumsey)

United States/ Transportation/ Urban History. TANNER, H. S. [Philadelphia, 1829/ 1832]
United States Of America: By H.S. Tanner, 1832. Third Edition. 46 x 61 inches
Engraving with etched detail in cartouche; full, vibrant, original color. Segmented and mounted on linen, with original marbled- paper, red roan case; some splits to linen and selvage coming free in places, else a bright, fine example.


Separately published, folding, wall map in a superb example. Rumsey describes it as “the premier map for its period [of the United States], without equal until Mitchell produced the first edition of his Reference and Distance Map of the United States in 1834.” It succeeded Melish’s masterwork of 1816-1822 as the best general map of the country. However, because of its larger scale and of course the great development of the country in the intervening years, Tanner’s map is vastly more detailed.
A number of important trends regarding the United States in the third decade of the 19th century are illuminated by this imposing and very well-executed wall map. Among the most noteworthy are the country’s rapidly expanding transportation networks. The map appeared when the canal system was at its peak, yet at the same time, the source of its dissolution, the railroad, was just beginning to make its appearance. This map provides as complete an inventory of the country’s canal as can be found on a map; included are ten inset profiles showing the elevations of the most important canals. So too are the beginnings of a national highway system that was initiated during Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Paved or “Mc.Adamized” roads are distinguished from secondary roads by black coloring. Railroad lines are highlighted in blue.
Also clearly expressed by the map is the growing urbanization of the United States, which of course is closely related to its increased interconnectedness afforded by the growing transportation network. Especially notable are the cities west of the Appalachian chain—Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New Orleans--which are among the several city plans depicted along the sides of the map. The plans of the major eastern cities of New York, Boston and Philadelphia are very well detailed and current in their depictions.
By the time Tanner’s map appeared, the United States had pushed beyond the Mississippi River with the admission of Missouri and Louisiana some years earlier. However, the map in total shows roughly the eastern two-thirds of the present-day United States, extending as far west as Kansas and the upper reaches of the Missouri River. West and East Florida, acquired from Spain in 1819, are included as territory of the United States; Florida would not achieve statehood until 1845.
Purely fictional regional designations of the “Osage,” “Mandan” and “Sioux” and other “Districts” in the Midwest and West were of Tanner’s own invention, as he explains:

“The names of Oregion, Sioux, Huron &c. applied to the unappropriated western lands of the United States, have been adopted for the purpose of more convenient reference, although not recognized by any law of the United States. To distinguish these sections from the organized Territories, the adjunct, “District” is used.”

The map appeared in editions of 1830, 1832, 1834, 1836, 1841, 1844, and one of 1845 that was recently uncovered. It was engraved by Tanner himself, assisted by E.B. Dawson, W. Allen & J. Knight
Henry Schenck Tanner (1786-1858) was active as a mapmaker, engraver, and publisher during the first half of the 19th century. Both prolific and highly skilled, he is described in Ristow’s American Maps and Mapmakers as “a principal contributor to the golden age [of American cartography] and one of the most productive and successful cartographic publishers of the period” (p. 191). In addition to the map offered here, he is best known for his American Atlas (1819-23), which set a new standard for American atlas production.

Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, pp. 198-199; Rumsey, #4406; Howes, U.S.-Iana, #T-23 and T-28; Phillips, Maps of America, p. 885.

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