Mid-19th century street map of Philadelphia.

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This wonderfully engaging city plan of Philadelphia was published locally by Samuel Augustus Mitchell around 1844. Mitchell was one of the most prominent American mapmakers of the 19th century and initially got involved with cartography as a school teacher who was frustrated with the quality of available maps. He collaborated with skilled engravers and produced high-quality maps and atlases that contained the most up-to-date information available. Mitchell’s son would take over the business after his death in 1860 and continue the tremendous output.

His attention to detail is evident within the image, which provides an interesting snapshot of The City of Brotherly Love in the mid-1840. One hundred and twenty-five locations of interest – public buildings, hotels, banks, churches, etc. – are numbered throughout the image and keyed on the right side of the page. Further important buildings like hospitals, schools, and military installations, are labeled directly. A robust transportation network of ferry routes, street railways, and railroads (hand-colored in orange) is presented. Each ward is bounded with bright red and identified in the lower left. The densest five are then subdivided further to provide more accurate references for the accompanying index.

In 1844, around the time of publication, anti-Catholic riots erupted in the city and adjacent districts of Kensington and Southwark. Rising numbers of Irish immigrants in these areas prompted nativist protests, which quickly turned violent against the soldiers sent to restore order. St. Augustine’s (#78 on the map) was set ablaze during what became known as the Philadelphia Bible Riots.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1844

Author: Samuel Augustus Mitchell

Sheet Width (in): 13.5

Sheet Height (in): 17

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Moderately toned margins have chipped in a few places on the right side. One small spot in the lower right corner just enters the neatline. One faint spot within the image, about 2" directly above. Good to very good overall, with original hand color.


1 in stock