George Woolworth Colton    

      

 

George Woolworth Colton (1827-1901) was the son of Joseph H. Colton (1800-1893), one of the more prominent American cartographers in the mid-19th century. The elder Colton headed J. H. Colton and Company and began publishing maps in New York in the 1830s.  The firm originally excelled in acquiring copyrights of previously published maps.  Included was the map plates of David H. Burr, another prominent American cartographer. The elder Colton's first product was an 1833 reprint of David Burr's 1830 map of New York State, re-engraved by Samuel Stiles. Colton reprinted several other Burr maps, including New York and Ohio, which were reissued for more than two decades. From 1850 to 1887, a major specialty of the Colton firm was the production of pocket railroad maps and guides. The Colton publishing firm was taken over in the middle of the century by Joseph Colton's two sons, George W. Colton and Charles B. Colton.  It was 28-year-old George Colton who organized and compiled the most popular product of J. H. Colton Company, namely Colton's Atlas of the World, the first volume of which appeared in 1855 and focused on North and South America.  The second volume, appearing a short while later in 1856, focusing on Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceanica. The two volumes were published by both J. H. Colton in New York City and Trubner and Company in London.  The latter company had been established in 1851 in London by Nicolas Trubner, a distinguished bookseller and oriental scholar from Central Europe.  Also in 1856, the two firms published a large, limited-edition, one-volume work, from which the England and Wales map was taken. While there is no evidence that Dr. John Snow knew Nicolas Trubner or was aware of Colton's Atlas of the World, the work was published during their mutual life in London.  In the ensuing decade, the two Colton brothers took over the American family firm.  They re-issued Colton's Atlas of the World in a smaller two volume set in late 1856, but without the assistance of London's Trubner and Company.  The business continued with their cartographic publications (created from steel engravings and lithography) until the early 1890s. The Colton brother's last work which appeared in 1892 was A Complete Ward Atlas of New York City.

The Map   

       

 

England And Wales in Colton, George W. Colton's Atlas Of The World, Illustrating Physical And Political GeographyAccompanied By Descriptions Geographical, Statistical, And Historical, By Richard Swainson Fisher, M.D. Complete In One Volume. Published by: J.H. Colton and Company, No. 172 William, Corner Beekman Street, New York and Trubner and Company, No. 12 Paternoster Row (just north of St. Paul's Cathedral), London, 1856.

Dimensions:  Presented as two pages, No. 2 and 3, with scale of 1 inch: 20 miles.  Each page measures 14 5/8th by 18 1/2 inches.  The size of the two-page map from ornate external border to border is 16 7/8 by 25 inches. 

The Editions

       

 

(1) 1855 Colton, George W. Coltonís Atlas of the World: illustrating physical and political geography accompanied by descriptions geographical, statistical and historical, by Richard Swainson Fisher. Volume 1, North and South America, etc. Published by J.H. Colton, New York; Trubner, London, 1855.

 

(2)  1856 Colton, George W. Coltonís Atlas of the World: illustrating physical and political geography accompanied by descriptions geographical, statistical and historical, by Richard Swainson Fisher. Volume 2, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceanica, etc. Published by J.H. Colton, New York; Trubner, London, 1856

 

(3)  1856 Colton, George W. Coltonís Atlas of the World: illustrating physical and political geography accompanied by descriptions geographical, statistical and historical, by Richard Swainson Fisher. One Volume. Published by J.H. Colton, New York; Trubner, London, 1856.

 

(4)  1856 Colton, George W. Coltonís Atlas of the World: illustrating physical and political geography accompanied by descriptions geographical, statistical and historical, by Richard Swainson Fisher. Two Volumes. Published by J.H. Colton, New York, 1856.

 

(5)  1857 Colton, George W. Coltonís General Atlas; containing one hundred and seventy steel plate maps and plans, on one hundred imperial folio sheets, Accompanied by descriptions, geographical, statistical, and historical by Richard S. Fisher, M.D. One Volume, Published by J.H. Colton, New York,1857. This atlas was continued until 1888. Two of the many interim editions are cited below.

 

(6)  1865 Colton, G. Woolworth.  Coltonís General Atlas; containing one hundred and eighty steel plate maps and plans, on one hundred and nineteen imperial folio sheets, drawn by G. Woolworth Colton. Letterpress descriptions, geographical, statistical, and historical, by Richard Swainson Fisher, Published by J.H. Colton, New York; Bacon, , London, 1865.

 

(7)  1884 Colton, G. Woolworth.  Coltonís General Atlas of the World; containing two hundred and twelve maps and plans, on one hundred and forty-two imperial folio sheets, drawn by G. Woolworth Colton. Accompanied by geographical, statistical, and historical letter-press descriptions. Published by G.W. & C.B. Colton, New York, 1884.

 

(8)  Published largely in same format until 1888.

 

 

 

Sources: 

Ristow, W. W.  American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan, USA 1985.

Rumsey, D.  David Rumsey Map Collection. http://www.davidrumsey.com/maps1427.html, No. 0149B, 2006.

UCLA Library, Los Angeles, California, 2006.