Tag: Historical Atlas

Get your Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States!

Having worked on the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States project for nearly two years at the DSL, I could’t help but want a copy. The only issue; they are rare and the price has inflated since the first asking price ($15). After perusing the internet for an Atlas, I stumbled upon a brochure advertising one of the greatest historical atlases of our time! The brochure opens up to nine spectacular “specimen maps” highlighting a couple of maps from the Atlas. It has a brief table of contents which outlines the number of maps in each subtopic, and a whole leaflet devoted to the Sectionalism in American Politics for the upcoming election. My favorite part of the brochure is the description of the Atlas and intent–“Although intended primarily for writers, editors, teachers, and students, the “Atlas” will be consulted by a wide public–especially by men of large affairs, leaders in public life, and Europeans who would obtain in graphic form authentic information on the development and internal structure of the United States”.

No advertising would be complete without an order form:

Atlas Brochure Order Form


Below are scans of the entire brochure. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and although I don’t have a copy of the “Atlas”, this is the next best thing!

Photo Credit: Angie White


“The Ideal Historical Atlas”

Image created by Nathaniel Ayers

Image created by Nathaniel Ayers

As we get closer to releasing the first four maps of American Panorama: An Atlas of United States History, I look back on Charles O. Paullin’s 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States.  My first year at the DSL was spent collecting, formatting, organizing, and building the database for the online version of the Atlas. The Atlas contains nearly 700 unique and beautiful maps, ranging from topics such as the number of Cattle, Explorations, and Rates of Travel. I have always been awed by the craftsmanship and effectiveness of these maps which were published over eighty years ago.  Recently there has been a lot of interest in “retro” maps and recreating them with new data. The Paullin Atlas is a little different in this regard, in that we added underlying data and implemented “A Shiny New Interface for a Classic Atlas” according to National Geographic. Wright thought the maps in the atlas were limited and could be more effective if visualized as a “collection of motion-picture maps.” This is what we tried to accomplish along with being respectful of the original plates in the Atlas. Still to this day Charles O. Paullin’s Atlas is considered one of the most impressive atlases of American History. With the help of our friends at Stamen Design, I look forward to sharing American Panorama with everyone and hope to push the envelope like Wright and Paullin did when trying to create “the ideal historical atlas.”

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