Map of the United States of North America with Parts of the Adjacent Countries


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 overview map of the United States, one of 13 maps in the atlas. The United States included 26 states, several organized territories, and a large swath of mostly unexplored land stretching to the Pacific Ocean. The border with British North America was contested in places and, as seen on the map, the United States claimed large parts of what is now British Columbia, Canada. Much of the American West still belonged to Mexico, while Texas was an independent republic. The map indicates the lands of the major Indian tribes and includes short notes containing geographic information derived from trappers and explorers.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

John Arrowsmith, London


Type of Item

Physical Description

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

Last updated: January 4, 2016