BROOKES, Richard (1721–1763) - DARBY, William (1775-
8vo., (8 4/8 x 5 inches). Half-title (browned and a bit spotted throughout). Fine folding engraved frontispiece "A Map of the United States, of America" by Tanner, with original hand-colour in full (4-inch tear from the mount). Contemporary polished mottled American calf, the spine in five compartments, with four raised bands, red morocco lettering-piece in the second (extremities a bit worn).
Provenance: with the near contemporary ownership inscription of Benjamin Pinnock on the half-title.
Stated third American edition "with ample additions and improvements". "The original work, from which the present volume has been in part compiles, has long held a respectable rank among elementary treatises on geography. Except, on the American articles; I have deviated as little as possible from the London edition of 1819, from which, most of the articles except those of America, have been taken.... Very few American articles, stand in the present as they did in any previous edition. This is the first Geographical Dictionary, in which a detailed and regular description of the counties of the United States has been inserted. In the former editions of Brookes, and in several other similar productions, few, comparatively of the United States counties, were so described, as to be easily found on a map from the description..." (pages v and vi of the "Preface").
William Darby is "unquestionably the “father of Louisiana geography”. Born in Pennsylvania in 1775, Darby soon moved to Ohio where he grew up, before establishing himself as a planter in Natchez in 1799. Financial ruin resulting from a fire in 1804 caused him to seek employment as a deputy surveyor with the U. S. General Land Office. It was in this position that Darby honed his skills as a surveyor and cartographer, traveling many miles on foot, horseback and by boat, surveying and meticulously recording geographic observations. These surveys and observations would be brought together in 1816 in his monumental map and the accompanying book A Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana.... A Map of the State of Louisiana and Part of the Mississippi Territory..., is the finest cartographic rendering of the area up to 1816. It was published by John Melish of Philadelphia, and Melish soon after used Darby’s geographic rendering in his famous United States map, also published in 1816. Melish and Darby feuded long after because of the notoriety gained by Melish and his lack of acknowledgment of Darby’s contribution. Darby went on to publish more than fifteen volumes of geography and history and spent his later life writing and lecturing about the West" (C.A.R.T.E. Museum online).
Brookes, physician and author, "has left scant evidence of his life, except numerous compilations and translations on medicine, surgery, natural history, and geography, most of which went through several editions. He was at one time a rural practitioner in Surrey, and at some time before 1762 he travelled in both America and Africa. He was an industrious compiler, especially from the works of continental writers, and his General Gazeteer (1762) filled a gap in the market" (G. T. Bettany, rev. Claire L. Nutt for DNB).