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Some of the most influential early maps of the individual United States in the first two decades after the Revolution were found in atlases. One of the more prolific American map and atlas publishers in the 1790s was Mathew Carey, a former colleague of Benjamin Franklin and an active political participant. The first of his many atlases of the United States was Carey’s American Atlas published in 1795, an accompaniment to William Guthrie’s Geography. The displayed map of Pennsylvania [#1], produced by Samuel Lewis, a respected American geographer and cartographer, was included in Carey’s American Atlas.
Another influential atlas of the United States published during the same decade was John Reid’s 1796 The American Atlas, which included the map of Vermont on display [#2]. The atlas was produced to accompany William Winterbotham’s An Historical, Geographical, Commercial and Philosophical View of the American United States, which he wrote while incarcerated in London’s Newgate prison. A radical Baptist minister, Winterbotham was an outspoken supporter of the Revolution in France that was unfolding at the time, opinions he made known during a sermon he gave in 1792. As a result this polemical sermon, he was sentenced to prison for four years.
The displayed map of Kentucky [#3] was also used to accompany William Winterbotham’s work. While this particular map was removed from the 1804 supplement Maps Belonging to W. Winterbotham’s History of America, it was originally engraved by John Russell in London in 1794. Soon after, the same plate was used to produce the Kentucky map for John Reid’s 1796 The American Atlas.
1. Samuel Lewis and Mathew Carey, The State of Pennsylvania, 1795
Donated by Maine Historical Society
Fun Fact: The world’s first computer was located in Pennsylvania.
2. John Reid, Vermont from the Latest Authorities, 1796
Fun Fact: Vermont’s Lake Champlain was briefly designated one of the Great Lakes in 1998.
3. John Russell and H.D. Symonds, Map of the State of Kentucky, 1794
Fun Fact: Kentucky is home to Mammoth Cave, the worlds longest cave system at 405 miles.