Map of New York


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 New York, one of 13 maps in the atlas. New York was by this time the most populous and the most economically important state in the Union. The Erie Canal, which was completed in 1825 and connected the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes via the Hudson River, gave the state major economic advantages and helped to cement the position of New York City as the country’s leading port and main center of finance and commerce. The map shows the terminus of the canal at Buffalo and the series of prosperous manufacturing cities—Rome, Utica, Syracuse, and Rochester—that grew up along its route. The inset map shows the city and county of New York, Brooklyn (then a separate city), Williamsburg, and Jersey City, New Jersey.

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