HUTCHINS, Thomas (1730 – 1789). A new Map of the Western Parts of Virginia, Penn., Maryland, and North Carolina. London: 1778.
32 sections on linen (36 ¼ x 43 ½ inches sheet; 45 ¼ x 52 inches framed)
A fine folding engraved map laid down on cartographis linen in 32 sections, with original hand-coloring outline. The original marbled paper boarded slipcase is present with paper label on the front cover with the title “Course of thr Ohio” written in contemporary hand.
Provenance: With near contemporary manuscript annotations providing key to regions of private and public ownership outlined in the map dating to circa 1792. Copper-plate engraving with original hand color.
Thomas Hutchins enjoyed a long and dynamic career as an engineer and mapmaker, working first for the British and later for the American army during and after the Revolutionary War.
The culmination of his work was this one, considered to be by a wide margin the best map of the west at that time. Designed to accompany his book, A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina, the map, which encompassed the region between the Allegheny and Mississippi Rivers, provided the most accurate and detailed overall view of the Midwest available at the time of the Revolution.
Significantly the regions marked take account of government and land company holdings created in the 1780s. The latest annotation refers to the founding of Knoxville in 1791.
The manuscript annotation to the Hutchins map were map about 1792, before the Treaty of Greenville, by either a government official keeping track of current land ownership.
According to Lloyd Brown, this is a map which "should be included in any work dealing with the cartography of the Ohio River. . . it furnished the reader not only a broad panorama of a little known region of his world, but a fascinating series of notes or "legends" interspersed between geographical details." The notes provide information on coal deposits, petroleum, salt, and lead; they describe natural landmarks and soil quality, and varieties of flora and fauna. "With these interesting notes," says Brown, "the Hutchins map could not fail" to attract the interest of settlers. This significant map was to Hutchins a personal endeavor, and he himself explored much of the area on the map in his early career. After the Revolutionary War, his great achievements were recognized when he was appointed Geographer of the United States, a position he held until his death in 1789.
For more information on this map, or a warm welcome to see other maps and books of our collection at 72nd Street NYC, please contact Natalie Zadrozna.