10 Most Important Maps in American History

10 of the Most Important Maps in American History

Here is an offering of what we feel are the 10 most important maps in American History. They all show a great deal of new detail from the latest discoveries. Of course all these map makers had to have strong connections with the very highest levels of government to obtain this profoundly important information. And they did! Louis XIV actually asked Sanson to be his Secretary of State he was so impressed with his intellect. But Sanson turned him down because cartography was his first love.

The best part of owning these "mother" or "chief type" maps is that the thrill of ownership increases over time as the historical importance permeates the room where they are located. I am indebted to Professors William Patterson Cumming and Seymour Schwatz for writing books that focused on this subject close to 50 years ago. I still remember the thrill of walking out of the Yale Co-op in 1975 with Cumming's recently published "The Southeast in Early Maps" It still is the bible for collectors who truly want to know WHY a map can be called "important." He was a Professor of English so the reading is a pleasure.

And then there was the great surgeon, Seymour Schwartz, author of the Handbook of Surgery. After describing a liver transplant, it was easy for him to teach us all why the John Mitchell map was the most important map in American history. What a great man he was. Like the maps he described, he himself was the template for being a full man.

- Graham Arader