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A Rare Wall Map Issue
Of the Best Map of Illinois of the Period
J. H. COLTON & CO./ PECK, J/ MESSINGER, J./ MATHEWSON, A. J. [New York, 1836/ 1852]
New Sectional Map of the State of Illinois. Compiled From the United States Surveys...
Lithograph with original hand color; re-mounted on new linen with silk edges; lightly toned, a few closed splits at top entering surface, else excellent.
"In its time, it was the best map of Illinois by far, and was probably the most popular. It is one of the only maps to show the vast extent of the prairies by graphic symbol" (Rumsey). A very nicely preserved, small wall map that is very informative in many respects. It is more commonly seen as a folding map. "It is odd that with so many issues of the map [several between 1836 and 1867], it has become truly scarce" (Rumsey).
The map is particularly valuable in showing in excellent detail the state's transportation infrastructure--roads, canals and rail lines. Many of these can be seen converging on Chicago; its increasing role as transportation hub at the time was one of the wellsprings of the dynamic growth of the city. The map also delineates, as stated in the title, "the outlines of Prairies, Woodlands, Marshes & the lands donated to the State by the Genl. Govt. for the purpose of Internal Improvements." The state is seen divided by the grid of the U. S. Ordnance Survey that produced its largely rectilinear towns. The inset maps depict, at top, "the Vicinity of Galena, the Lead Region," and at bottom, the cities of St. Louis and Alton and vicinity. There is a profile of the Michigan Canal along the top right margin. The columns of text discuss the public lands, the land districts, canals, and population.
"In 1839 Peck issued with Colton the Traveller's Directory For Illinois," with a slightly smaller map of the state (Karrow 4-1479). Peck was a Baptist Minister who traveled extensively in Illinois and adjoining states as a part of his work, and his keen sense of observation quickly made him an authority on the West. His Guide for Emigrants appeared in 1831, and his Gazetteer of Illinois in 1834.