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One of the Most Important Maps of Pennsylvania
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JOHN MELISH. Map of Pennsylvania, Constructed from the County Surveys…Corrected and Improved to 1825. Benjamin Tanner, Philadelphia, Pa., 1825. 6 sheets joined, dissected, and laid on linen, 74½ x 50¾ in. overall.

Inventory #22137       Price: $45,000

Historical Background

John Melish’s map of Pennsylvania is one of the most earliest important large format maps of an individual American state. The State of Pennsylvania authorized it with an 1816 legislative act, and John Melish created it using county maps from a variety of surveys conducted between 1816 and 1820. He delivered it in March 1822. As with his map of the United States, Melish meticulously compiled the best available information and regularly updated his map. After Melish’s death in December 1822, Philadelphia engraver Benjamin Tanner made 6,447 corrections before publishing this updated version in 1825. Tanner took pains to list his many additions and improvements in a February 17, 1825, letter. In addition to Pennsylvania, it includes all of New Jersey and parts of Delaware and Maryland, although in less detail. Longitude is marked by using Washington, D.C. as the Prime Meridian. Very rare on the market, the present example is the Babinski copy of the “unrecorded and very rare. state 3.” One of an estimated number of 64 copies published, and bearing the additional imprint “Published by B. Tanner, Engraver. No. 74 South Eighth Street, Philadelphia.”

With a large vignette depicting the Pennsylvania state seal.

Comprised of 40 rectangular sections laid down on linen with blue silk selvage, the map folds to small folio size (13¼ x 7¾ in.). With marbled paper endpages.  Loose in original red half morocco gilt portfolio case (case expertly restored).  In modern black cloth.


Apart from very minor wear to the blue silk selvage of the linen support, this example is in extremely fine condition.

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