Item 15 is John Wallis' The United States of America laid down from the best authorities, agreeable to the Peace of 1783. This is the first separately engraved map of the United States after peace was reached with Great Britain following the American revolution. Considering it was published in England, on April 3, 1783, you might expect some lingering hard feelings. Apparently not. The cartouche shows a majestic Washington and learned Franklin, along with Lady Liberty and other goddesses. Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia extend all the way to the Mississippi, as does Florida, but the latter was turned over to Spain, not the United States. The northeastern states and the eastern portion of the aforementioned southern states was well known, but to the west there is a “Boundary of the Back Settlements,” and between here and the Mississippi River (then the American border to the west), understanding is limited. To the northwest, the actual boundary becomes unknown, as the source of the Mississippi, the western border, had not been found. The result is a narrowing arm of territory between the Canadian border and a Mississippi River that reaches toward that border, but never quite gets there. While noting the source of the Mississippi is unknown, Wallis places it at White Bear Lake, south of Lake of the Woods (this mythical White Bear Lake is not the same as the one found in Minnesota today, the latter being located near St. Paul, on the other side of the state). Price on request.
There are many types of maps, but none permeated American culture during the last century like the road map. The automobile gave Americans the freedom to explore their land like nothing before. Quickly, a network of roads and highways crossed the land and reached into its distant corners. Everyone who wanted to travel had to have a road map. They were given away free at every gas station. It wasn't always so. In 1789, when Christopher Colles released his A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America, there were none. Of course travel was not reachable by the masses before the automobile, but people did still have to get around. It was easy for the traveler to get lost, but as Colles explained, with these maps, “it will be impossible for him to miss his way.” Colles provided “strip” maps, two or three sections of the route in a strip per page. You could travel from Connecticut to Virginia, with several side trips to places like Annapolis, York, and Albany. Colles not only gave you the route, but in anticipation of today's online travel maps, he showed you where you could stay, get a meal, find a blacksmith to repair your “tires,” or go to church (provided you were Episcopalian or Presbyterian). He even showed you where the jails were (not sure why). If this wasn't enough, Colles provided the names and locations of many of the people who lived along the roads. It was a costly undertaking, partly funded by subscriptions, but Colles was unsuccessful in his attempts to get funding from Congress and the New York State legislature. It was not a financial success for him, but prophets, like profits, are not always recognized in their own time. His collection of 83 maps covering 1,000 miles of roads was the first of what became an indispensable tool to our endless search for the perfect vacation. This copy includes the original broadside prospectus for the work. Item 18. $150,000.
Donald Heald Rare Books may be reached at 212-744-3505 or email@example.com. Their website is found at www.donaldheald.com.