Henry S. Tanner. “Philadelphia.” From New Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Sr., 1848. 15 3/4 x 12 1/2. Lithographic transfer from copper engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition.
A detailed map of the city of Philadelphia by the great American cartographer, Henry Schenck Tanner and published by Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Sr., one the leading cartographic publisher of the period. Beginning in 1819, Tanner published his American Atlas, which was a huge success. This inspired Tanner to produce his Universal Atlas, of more manageable size, which contained fine maps of each state and a number of cities. These maps were purchased by S. Augustus Mitchell and reissued in his editions of Tanner’s atlas. Mitchell was born in Connecticut where he engaged in teaching. Upon the discovery that geography texts were inadequate, he wrote his own and in 1829-30 moved to Philadelphia, then the leading publishing center in the United States. He acquired the stock and plates of Anthony Findley’s publishing company and improved on those copper plate maps. In 1846, with the issuing of his New Universal Atlas, Mitchell began using the new technique of stone lithography.
This map is from that atlas and shows the Townships, Districts and Wards in his not yet consolidated home city as they existed between March 1836 and February 1844. Philadelphia is shown from Kensington to Southwark and Moyamensing, and from the Delaware to just into West Philadelphia. The north-south running streets west of Penn Square are identified as Schuylkill Front to Eighth Streets; these streets were later re-named counting from the Delaware. Another interesting aspect of this map is that the developed portions of the city have been shaded. This allows one to see the extent of the inhabited areas of the city at the time. Tanner’s maps are always noted for their focus on transportation, and this map is no exception. It shows early rail line routes, canals, and indicates the ferry lines on the Delaware. An inset in the lower left gives a key to the city wards and an index of 125 sites is given on the right of the map. This map was republished in several editions by other publishers and provided more readers with more information about Philadelphia than any other map of the period. Besides its fascinating detail, the map is most attractive, with its striking design enhanced by strong hand color. Overall, a most desirable map of the city.