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Editions >> Atlas >> The North American Atlas: Mapping the American Revolutionary War

Des Barres's monumental four volume work, reflecting his individual involvement with the maps for over fifteen years, was much larger than the other two, and was intended as a naval atlas, focused primarily on coastal charts.[4][Harley et al., Mapping the American Revolutionary War, 87-91. G. N. D. Evans, Uncommon Obdurate: The Several Public Careers of J. F. W. DesBarres (Salem, MA: Peabody Museum, 1969).] The other two atlases, those of Jefferys and Faden, were both primarily terrestrial atlases. The Jefferys' atlas was issued posthumously, by the publishing house of Robert Sayer and John Bennett.

All of these atlases had variants with different numbers of maps and charts, but perhaps none quite so variable as Faden's. A number of sources–including OCLC's WorldCat, the KVK catalog, COPAC, and American Book Prices Current–indicate that variants of The North American Atlas could range from eleven to forty three maps, some on multiple sheets.[5][I used the subscription version of WorldCat (http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/about/default.htm) for these searches. The KVK catalog (http://www.ubka.uni-karlsruhe.de/hylib/en/kvk.html) and COPAC (http://copac.ac.uk/) are both freely accessible online. The CD version of American Book Prices Current was used (http://www.bookpricescurrent.com/CDROM.cfm). The largest collation, the one with forty three maps on forty seven sheets with a printed title page and manuscript contents was found in: Rodney Shirley, The Maps in the Atlases of the British Library: A Descriptive Catalogue c. AD 850-1800 (London: The British Library, 2004), 493 (entry T.FAD-2A, vol. 1). The situation is even more confusing than it appears. One of the WorldCat entries indicated seven institutional holdings. I tried contacting all seven, and received four replies: none of the four collations matched the associated WorldCat entry.] Most of the copies cited in the major online databases have a formal, printed title page, although not necessarily a printed table of contents. A number of others–including the digitized example within this website–have neither a printed title page nor a printed table of contents, but rather have only a manuscript contents list reflecting the general nature of the maps, not the full titles. These copies, i.e. without the title page, would not be consistently indexed within WorldCat and other major online public-access catalogs. The version digitized here has nineteen maps, one in duplicate, on twenty one sheets. There is no representation of the southeastern United States. This is smaller than a similar copy with no title page at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library of the University of Virginia, which has thirty eight sheets including those from the southeast United States.[6][Each of the thirty eight map citations for the University of Virginia copy is available using the call number browse function from their VIRGO online catalog, accessible off their main library page at http://www.lib.virginia.edu/. The call number for this particular atlas, with no title page and a manuscript table of contents, is A 1734 .A547.]

The maps in the variant issues could also be quite diverse in terms of individual title entries. Although Faden sold the individual maps for the atlas and bound them for the client, these were not all maps by Faden. They reflected the contemporary output of a diverse group of mapmakers (see the cartobibliographic entries for the individual maps). Why should there be such variation? This question leads directly to the idea of the "composite atlas" or "atlas factice."

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