EARLY MAPS OF TENNESSEE

Charles A. Reeves, Jr.


NOTES

- Maps at the Library of Congress may be downloaded and freely used, although I’d recommend always listing them as the source and indicating any revisions made to their images if used in any kind of publication. It is also possible to order copies of maps they have not yet scanned, for a charge based on the size of the document/map (that's how the Rhea map below came to be on their web site).  They are usually fairly prompt to answer questions posted through the “Ask a Librarian” link on their site.

The home page of The Library of Congress Maps.

- Maps at the Tennessee State Library and Archives may be downloaded and used, but you may need to complete a form indicating what you plan to use them for.  And they require you to always list them as the source and any revisions made to their images if used in any kind of publication.  It is also possible to order copies of maps they have not yet scanned, for a relatively small charge, but you will have to complete the form.

The home page of the Tennessee Virtual Archive (TEVA) maps.

- Maps at the David Rumsey Collection may be downloaded, but the images are copyrighted, and thus use is restricted.  If you wish to download images at their highest resolution you will need to register then log in each time you access the site thereafter.  It doesn't cost anything to register. They might give permission for some uses; just be sure and ask first.

The home page of The David Rumsey Collection

- The use of the term “et al.” below means that at least one revision was published, usually over a span of several years. And the date given may not be for the first version.  For example, Rand McNally published their first atlas in the 1870s and continues to publish maps and atlases to this day.

- Prior to the late 1800s, most, if not all, color maps were colored by hand with watercolor. Some of the larger companies literally had rooms filled with women and men doing this day in and day out.



Map of Cumberland & Franklin (Tennessee) - Ramsey’s Annals of Tennessee, 1853 (as the state appeared around 1784)
http://www.roanetnhistory.org/ramseysannals.php?loc=RamseysAnnals

Goodspeed’s Aboriginal Map, published in 1886, but depicts the state as it was around 1790
https://www.loc.gov/item/2006626014/

A Map of the Tennessee Government, John Reid/Matthew Carey Atlas, 1795
https://www.loc.gov/item/99446175/

Arrowsmith & Lewis Atlas, 1804
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~31652~1150128:Tennessee-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:tennessee;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=214&trs=865

Matthew Carey Atlas, 1814, et al.
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~749~70023:Map-Of-Tennessee-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:tennessee;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=14&trs=865

Samuel Lewis, 1817
https://www.loc.gov/item/2003627040/

John Melish, 1818
http://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15138coll23/id/72

Harriet E. Baker, a children’s book, 1819
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~269868~90045128:Tennessee?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:harriet%2Be.%2Bbaker;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=48&trs=55

Fielding Lucas Atlas, 1817, et al.
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3200m.gct00192/?sp=54
https://www.loc.gov/item/2003627038/

Henry S. Tanner Atlas, (KY & TN) 1823, et al.
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~238851~5512072:Kentucky,-Tennessee-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:tennessee;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=246&trs=865

Anthony Finley Atlas, 1824
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~203809~3002098:Tennessee-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:tennessee;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=444&trs=865

Matthew Rhea, 1833 - This perhaps the most important of the early maps of the state. It is the first to show the entire state in great detail, and probably the first to be created from actual surveys. It is a large map, approximately 36" high by 70" wide.  In addition The Tennessee State Library and Archives has The Rhea Family Papers, which contain small county maps which may have been used to create the state map.  Your local library may be able to obtain a microfilm of these papers on loan. A booklet containing reduced images of these maps has also been published.
https://www.loc.gov/item/2011588000/

S. Augustus Mitchell Atlas, 1835, et al.
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3200m.gcws0186/?sp=28

T. G. Bradford Atlas, 1838
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~263666~5524336:Tennessee?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:tennessee;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=301&trs=865

Morse’s North American Atlas, 1842
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3300m.gct00223/?sp=28

G. W. Colton Atlas, 1855 et. al.
http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~1686~130045:Kentucky-And-Tennessee-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:tennessee;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=15&trs=865

A. J. Johnson Atlas, (KY & TN) 1865, et al.
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3200m.gcw0013960/?sp=41

H. H. Hardesty Atlas, (KY & TN) 1881
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3700m.gla00129/?sp=90

RandMcNally, 1888, et al. - a large, detailed map, 22" high by 54" wide
https://www.loc.gov/item/98688560/

The Century Atlas of the World, 1889, et al. -  I think this is one of the prettiest maps.  Too bad it is split.  This image is from my private collection, although original copies occasionally come up on eBay, as do copies of the atlas.
http://www.reevesmaps.com/maps/map153.jpg




This page last updated 17 February 2016.