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Ristow, Walter W., American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8143-1768-5. 21x26cm., 488pp., illustrated, cloth. (The Leonard N. Simons Bldg., 5959 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202, $60 plus $2 shipping)

Mention the names of Colton, Mitchell, or Johnson to average map collectors and their lips begin to curl in an involuntary sneer.  There is a prevailing snobbish opinion that only the likes of 17th-century Dutch maps are worthy of attention.  Well, those individuals are excused from reading further.  This book is for the serious scholar or collector of Americana.  There are 28 chapters.  Some have appeared separately elsewhere.  Nonetheless, the material blends well.  Some chapter titles give the flavor of the book: The First Maps of the United States of America; Early American Atlases; Henry S. Tanner; The S.A. Mitchell and J.H. Colton Publishing Companies; and The County Atlas.  It is often difficult to find any information about American maps of this period, and I know many dealers will welcome this work.  There are over 200 illustrations.  The book is in oblong format making it unnecessary to rotate the book to look at figures.  It would be bootless to heap praise on this book.  Suffice it to say that it is excellent.  If you like American maps, buy it!

David C. Jolly, 1986

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