Mitchell Alaska 1881


United States Coastal Survey.  “North Western America Showing the Territory Ceded By Russia To The United States.”   From New General Atlas.  Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1881.  11 3/4 x 14.  Lithograph.  Full original color.  Very good condition.

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A map of Alaska, showing “Seward’s Folly” just over a decade after it was ceded by Russia to the United States for $7,200,000.  This map shows the still general absence of development or settlement in the territory, as well as overall lack of knowledge of the geography of Alaska, which explain why this purchase was so misunderstood.  This map was based by Philadelphia mapmaker, S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. upon a large map done by the U.S. Coastal Survey.  The coastlines and major rivers are shown with excellent accuracy, but only slight indication is given of the shape of other inland features like the Chigmit Mountains.