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A Rare Map with Many Interesting Dimensions

United States/ Map Projection. REICHARD, C. G. [Nuremberg, 1809]
Die Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-America…. 23 x 28 ¼ inches
Fine original outline & wash coloring; evidence of folds, a few reinforced, else excellent condition.


Rare; separately published—four OCLC locations. A finely engraved map evidently intended for potential German immigrants to the United States. Underlined in red on it are German cities and settlements, including those founded under the auspices of the Moravian Church.
As indicated in its title, the map employed Heinrich Christian Albers’ equal-area conic projection and was likely the first map to do so. Snyder (see below) mentions its use by Reichard on an 1817 map of Europe but was apparently unaware of its earlier application of it here. Curiously, the projection was not widely used and nearly forgotten for much of the 19th century. However, “in the twentieth century Oscar S. Adams (1927) of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey derived the ellipsoidal form and made the projection standard for equal-area maps of the United States” (Snyder).
The map’s detail along the Missouri River is excellent suggesting a very early incorporation of Lewis and Clark-derived data. In the south and west of the Mississippi River, the map shows territories and their boundaries that existed for only a relatively brief time. Much of what is Louisiana today is occupied on the map by the Orleans Territory, which existed from 1804 to 1812. To the north is the Territory of Mississippi (1798-1812), its size much diminished from what it was when first formed. And above this is a quite unusually located and abbreviated Louisiana Territory, considering what its size had been at the time of the Purchase in 1803. Georgia’s western border can be seen extending to the Mississippi River, reflecting claims the state made until the early 19th century.
The map is both elegantly engraved, with nicely render topography, and delicately colored.

Cf. Snyder, J. P. Flattening the Earth, p. 117.

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