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- David H. Burr (1803–75) was a surveyor and cartographer, who served as topographer to the United States Post Office Department in 1832–38 and as geographer to the House of Representatives in 1838–47. Under the direction of the postmaster general, Burr compiled information from postmasters throughout the country about transportation routes—post roads, railroads, and canals—and the location of post offices to produce a large set of state and regional maps. Published in 1839 by the prominent London mapmaking firm of John Arrowsmith, Burr’s The American Atlas offers a detailed picture of settlement and transportation patterns in the United States in the decades before the Civil War. Shown here is Burr’s map of Illinois and Missouri, one of 13 maps in the atlas. Part of the Northwest Territory, Illinois became a territory in 1809 and the 21st state of the Union in 1818. The map shows the partially completed Illinois and Michigan Canal, which, when completed, connected the Chicago River with the Illinois River, providing a direct water link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Missouri was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, organized as a territory in 1812, and became the 24th state in 1821. Saint Louis, located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, was known as the Gateway to the West.
Type of Item
- 1 map from loose-leaf atlas : hand colored, mounted on cloth ; 130 x 130 centimeters or smaller, folded in case 50 x 33 x 7 centimeters