1864 "North America" by J. Wells

Presented is an original 1864 map of “North America.” The map was issued as “Map No. 3” in McNall’s System of Geography. It was drawn by J. Wells and engraved by George E. Sherman, in New York. The map depicts North America, to include Greenland, British America, Russian America, the United States, Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the West Indies. 

Key rivers, mountain ranges, and populous cities are labeled throughout the map. A chart along the bottom margin of the map compares prominent mountain ranges and lakes by elevation, with Mount Saint Elias dominating at 17,865 ft. Country borders are delineated with a dashed line. The countries are hand colored, with a light watercolor wash of pink, blue, and green. 

Interestingly, and quite uncommon for a map of North America that was both drawn and engraved in the United States, the United States is shown without any state borders. Because this map was published during the Civil War, one can only assume this lack of state borders was a result of the ongoing conflict between states that stayed with the Union and those who seceded.

McNall’s System of Geography was an atlas made for schools, universities, and seminaries to teach students about geography. The atlas combined up-to-date maps of places all over the world, of which half were of the Americas, with population data and tables, practice exercises and questions for each map, as well as instruction on how to draw maps.  The atlas was updated and republished many times during the second half of the 19th century. 


Good condition overall. Hand-colored map, with some fading.Paper has toning throughout and a faint mat burn from previous display. The map is labeled “Page 12” at top left and "McNally's System of Geography, Map No. 3" at top right. It is titled "North America" at bottom left cartouche. "Drawn by J. Wells, N.Y." at bottom left margin, "Engraved by Geo. E. Sherman, N.Y." at bottom right margin. Map measures 12" H x 9 1/2" W.

Map is artfully framed to archival standard with acid-free backing, a dark gray top mat, UV Conservation Clear glass, and a custom black wooden frame. 

Framed Dimensions: 16" H x 13 7/8" W x 1 1/4" D.

Related Items