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Once upon a time there was a man named John Mitchell who in 1755 made a famous map of North America. Though not a map-maker by profession, he was walking with some serious street cred having lived in Virginia for several years. His giant map was so remarkable (and decidedly pro-British) that for a time mapmakers across Europe became Mitchell cover bands, cranking out their own interpretations of the map.
D’Anville was a leading mapmaker in France, and this is the French version of the Mitchell map (published astonishingly quickly, only 9 months after Mitchell’s). D’Anville had an excellent reputation for his careful attention to details and geographic accuracy.
The second map is a Santini copy of the d’Anville map. Even after twenty years, the map was still the “it map” of North America (La version française).
Detail from 1755 map
Detail from 1775 map
These maps will be on display in the MSU Map Library the week of July 29, 2013. They were generous gifts of Ron Dietz.
J.-B. d’Anville as Armchair Mapmaker: The Impact of Production Contexts on His Work. An article published in the journal Imago Mundi, volume 63 part 1 on pages 88-105.
The Southeast in Early Maps. Written by William Patterson Cumming. Published in Chapel Hill, NC by University of North Carolina Press in 1998.
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