1825 / 1979
Reproduction of the map of Richland County from the well-known 1825 Mills' Atlas. The 1825 publication of Robert Mills’ Atlas of the State of South Carolina marked an American cartographic first. This volume is the first systematic atlas of any state in the union. Remarkably, too, no other state atlas of South Carolina was published for the next century and a half. Nationally noted architect and engineer, South Carolina native Robert Mills received on December 23, 1823 a “sanctioned” (ratified) provisional contract from the General Assembly of South Carolina to publish and sell maps of each of the state’s twenty-eight political divisions known as districts. The agreement authorized Mills’ utilization of state-owned district surveys as a base and in return, the State was to receive free of charge twelve bound editions of the Atlas. In addition, the Superintendent of Public Works was obligated to purchase another fifty copies for $600.00. From 1822 through 1825, Mills redrew the base surveys, converting the larger scales to the atlas standard of two miles to an inch. He added a legend to each map denoting the “geological position,” the bearing and distance from Columbia, longitude and latitude of each county seat, deleted and/or inserted place names and topological features, and standardized the cartographic conventions and typography. The legend of each map bears the original surveyor’s name and notes the map was “improved for Mills’ Atlas, 1825.” Engraved and printed in Philadelphia by H. S. Tanner & Assistants, the Atlas was presented to the South Carolina Senate on September 29, 1826. The Senate commended the volume as being a “fine specimen of American Science and Art.” Touted as being better than comparable European publications by the American Farmer, the Atlas and its accompanying volume, Statistics of South Carolina, are still in constant use by historians, ecologists, lawyers and genealogists as invaluable research tools. The atlas has been reproduced more than once, and this is likely from a 1979 reproduction of the atlas. Printed with brown ink. Measures approx. 27.5 x 22.5 inches to the neatline.
Item Number: REP695