Henry Schenck TANNER. Map of the United States of America. 1829.

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TANNER, Henry Schenck (1786-1858). Map of the United States of America. Philadelphia: Henry Tanner, 1829.

Single sheet, (49 ½ x 63 inches). Fine engraved map of the United States, laid down on cartographic linen in 60 sections, edged in blue ribbon, with original hand color in outline, with inset maps of 14 cities, South Florida, Oregon, and the Mandan Districts (with a chart of the outlet of the Oregon River), 2 statistical tables, and 14 profiles of portages, canals, and railroads (slightly toned); preserved loose as issued within portfolio of contemporary half red roan, marbled boards, the smooth spine in five gilt-ruled compartments, gilt-lettered in one, linen ties (front cover detached, rather worn).


TANNER, Henry Schenck (1786-1858). Memoir on the Recent Surveys, Observations, and Internal Improvements in the United States…Intended to accompany his new map of the United States. Philadelphia: Mifflin & Parry, 1829.

12mo., (7 ¼ x 4 ½ inches). (A bit spotted). Contemporary half red roan, marbled boards the smooth spine elaborately tooled and lettered in gilt (extremities worn with loss).

First edition. One of the best early wall maps of the United States, with latitude measured from Washington, D.C., making it a quintessentially "American" map. "While Mathew Carey was born in Ireland and John Melish was born in Scotland, Tanner represents the development of an American-born group of artisans. He was born in New York City but moved to Philadelphia. His brother was a partner in the firm of Tanner, Vallance, and Kearney, which published books, pamphlets and printed maps. Tanner trained as an engraver and worked on the maps that accompanied Melish’s ‘Travels’ (1812) and ‘Map of the United States’ (1816). Tanner soon extended his work to publishing and writing. The death of Melish provided an opportunity for a ‘geographer and map publisher’; by the 1820s, he had adopted those names. Tanner, like Melish, not only printed and published maps and books but also wrote much of the text (the demarcation between printers, publishers and writers was less rigorous than it is now)…

"Tanner also produced large maps of the country for public display. One of the largest was his 1829 ‘United States of America,’ which measured an impressive 117.7 cm x 151.3 cm drawn to a scale of 25 miles to 1 inch. It was engraved by James W. Steele (1799-1879), a native and lifelong resident of Philadelphia who worked for Tanner, Vallance, and Kearney. He also did portrait, landscape and historical engravings but later became a banknote engraver.

"After the simplicity of Melish’s maps, this Tanner map is more baroque looking, with elaborate cartouches, inserts and statistical tables along each border. It is a very busy map and one gets exhausted looking at it. It has detailed town maps of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, New Orleans and Savannah; inserts of southern Florida and Northwest Territory; and profiles of canals, including Erie, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Chesapeake. The statistical tables presented in the margins include population (divided into whites, free people of colour, slaves) and the numbers engaged in agriculture, commerce and manufacturing; and for each state: area, capital city, major cities, population, latitude and longitude. This is a map and a statistical compendium of progress in the United States. It is a map of progress of civil society, but a society deeply divided into racial categories. The map and accompanying table also represent the geographical representation of difference.

"The nation is divided into east and west in terms of representation. The eastern area has county names and boundaries, cities and roads marked off and a dense population. Western lands are shown as vacant. Illustrations 40 and 41 highlight the differences. In looking at the map, there is strong sense of teeming population, progress and civilization in the east, while the west lies open, full of vacant spaces and undefined boundaries. Tanner has yet to represent continental appropriation.

"Hung up on a wall, this map would have represented the mark of progress in the east, the increasing density and differentiation of the country, the creeping urbanization and especially the development of canals that marked human control over nature. This was the forward march of history; an elaborate display of city growth, increasing population, density, economic connectivity and specialization, the structure of civil society (county seats and boundaries), and social differentiation. The statistical tables show a nation growing, expanding, urbanizing and differentiating. To read the tables in this wall map is to see difference between north and south, urban and rural, slave and non-slave states, east and west.

"The map was accompanied by a memoir, published the same year as ‘Memoir of The Recent Surveys, Observations and Internal Improvements in The United States’" [as here] (John R. Short, "Representing the Republic," pp. 150-151). Streeter Sale 3835; Howes T28; American Imprints 40603.