This fine, steel engraved map was engraved by J. H. Young (fl. 1817 to 1866) and published by Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792 to 1868) who revised the map for two decades beginning in 1832. The map was published as a folding map to allow a traveler to put the map in his pocket, and take it out as needed to study while planning a trip or en route westward. The map was one of the most authoritative travel maps during this early period of America's westward expansion. The hand colored map is both decoratively colored and color coded as explained by the map's key. Commercially important canals can be seen at a glance as they are drawn in bright orange. Railroad lines are drawn in thick black lines that could be mistaken for manuscript additions. To the modern eye, it seems strange to see a map stopping at the Rocky Mountains. But by 1843, the publication date of this map, America's westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean, including California had not occurred. Of equal importance, the map shows Native American tribe names and lands in the western region but no longer in the East. Mitchell's Traveler's Guide of 1843 is an information rich picture of a new country only 70 years after Independence.
This 1843 map served mid-19th century American businessmen and other travelers seeking their fortunes by heading west by train and canal. The American population increased threefold between 1810 and 1850, according to Ristow, due in large part to immigration. Travel by this growing population to land in places with new boundaries, new settlements and new means of transportation required a new form of travel map. There was a steady flow of new information provided by land offices, commercial railroads and U.S. government land sale and settlement programs that also resulted in the need for up to date, accurate mapping information. These needs in turn fueled demand for the latest travel maps that were primarily provided by Mitchell and Colton, the two major map publishers in the United States at that time. The increased demand for published maps helped establish Philadelphia as a center of engraving and publishing in the United States.
For the collector, this 1843 Mitchell's Travellers Guide shows milestones of political, geographic and industrial development during the beginning of America's explosive era of expansion.