Map Collections

Special Collections at Southwestern University holds over 2,500 maps published before 1899. Two prominent mapmakers featured in the collection are Samuel Augustus Mitchell and Joseph H. Colton. A former schoolteacher, Samuel Augustus Mitchell, began making maps during the early 1830s due to his own dissatisfaction with the quality and accuracy of school textbooks. During the mid-nineteenth century, Mitchell became one of the most prominent mapmakers of his time, publishing alongside two prominent engravers, H.S. Tanner and H.N.Burroughs, before attaining his own copyright privileges in 1847. Southwestern University holds approximately 56 Mitchell maps published between 1855 and 1863.

Another prominent American mapmaker during the mid-nineteenth century was Joseph H. Colton. Without any formal training in geography or cartography, Colton founded his own map publishing firm, which dominated the American map publishing industry for the latter half of the century. He was succeeded by his two sons, George Woolworth Colton and Charles B. Colton, in the 1860s. Southwestern holds 48 Colton maps published between 1852 and 1863, as well as a road atlas, published in 1854 titled Colton's Traveler and Tourist's Route Book through the U.S, which includes a large map of the United States and Cananda and depicts various roads, canals, and stage roads across the country.

A sample of maps from Special Collections is provided below, including an assortment of maps that depicts several different world regions. Click each image to enlarge.


Mitchell, S. Augustus. Mexico and Guatemala. Philadelphia : S. A. Mitchell, 1846.

Inserted inside a small mapbook, Mitchell's map of Mexico and Guatemala depicts the South American region of Mexico and its neighboring Guatamala as it was outlined in the mid-nineteenth century. It encompasses a large area of what is now the Southwest region of the United States. This mapbook is part of Special Collection's Edward A. Clark Collection



County Map of Texas, Date Unknown.

Published in Pennsylvania by August Mitchell, this map provides a detailed and colorful outline of county lines in the state of Texas, as well as an inset in the lower left corner featuring the counties of Galveston Bay and its vincinity. This map is part of the Edward A. Clark Collection



Colton, J. H. Colton’s traveler and tourist’s-route book through the United States of America and the Canadas: containing the routes and distances on the great lines of travel, by railroads, stage-roads, canals, lakes and rivers. New York: J. H. Colton, 1854.

This small guidebook by Joseph H. Colton contains an inserted map of the United States and Canada along with a full index of routes and distances of highways across the country. It also part of the Edward A. Clark Collection



Enlarged Chart of the River Danube. May 1854.

This military chart shows all military positions and roads surrounding Europe's second longest river, the Danube River. This map is part of the Cox Map Collection.



Map of Asia. 1890s.

Drawn and engraved on copper plate for Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia, this Map of Asia divides the continent of Asia into five empires, including the Russian empire, Chinese empire, Indian empire, Arabian empire, and the Persian empire. This map is also part of the Cox Map Collection.



Lowell, Massachusetts. Sept. 1, 1890-Feb. 1, 1891.

This map depicts the approximate locations of 230 cases of typhoid fever near the canals of Lowell, Massachusetts. It identifies sources of unclean canal waters and associates these with oubreaks of typhoid.



United States. Date Unknown.

This early industrial map of the United States divides various regions of the United States according to their main industries, such as petroleum in the Northeast, cotton in the South, and wool in the Rocky Mountains. This map is part of the Cox Map Collection.



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