The American Atlas


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, a period of rapid growth and national consolidation. The atlas contains in all 13 maps, including an overview map of the United States and parts of adjacent Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean region, and 12 maps devoted to particular states and territories.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

John Arrowsmith, London


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 loose-leaf atlas (13 maps) : hand colored, mounted on cloth ; maps 130 x 130 centimeters or smaller, folded in case 50 x 33 x 7 centimeters


  • Scale ca. 1:4,000,000; Scale ca. 1:633,600. Relief shown by hachures.

Last updated: February 18, 2015