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

As mentioned in the earlier section, "What is an Atlas?,"some definitions of the term seek to impose more stringent elements of editorial control. (Of the three atlases mentioned above, the least variability is found with Jeffery's The American Atlas.) For some scholars the idea of a composite atlas, or atlas factice, implies a random collection of maps. The difficulty with this stipulation relates to what exactly determines "random."Without knowing the original intent of the bound volume, it is very difficult to define any collection as "random." The contents of an individual volume or volumes may have been the choice of the buyer, the seller, or both.[7][Email communication with George Carhart on 8 July 2008. He defines a composite atlas as an "atlas that is put together from a random collection of maps from a random number of authors."He also acknowledged the complexity of the subject. Mathew Edney, in an email communication from 4 July 2008, distinguished three types of composite atlases: those "where a book/print seller assembles materials from their stock according to the interest/capacity of the buyer," those "expanding an existing product"(see note 8 below), or those "binding  into guard books of existing map collections, such as the Blathwayt Atlas."For a discussion of the Blathwayt Atlas, see J. Black, "The Blathwayt Atlas: Maps Used by British Colonial Administrators in the Time of Charles II,"Imago Mundi 22 (1968): 20-29.] A collector might, of their own volition, supplement a more standardized atlas production, as was the case for the magnificent forty six volume Atlas Blaeu-van der Hem.[8][The forty six volume Atlas Blaeu - Van der Hem of the Austrian National Library, an expanded version of Joan Blaeu's Atlas Maior, in one of the most magnificent atlases in existence. For a discussion of the atlas, and the ongoing production of the facsimile, see Peter van der Krogt and Erlend de Groot, Explokart Research Project–The Atlas Blaeu-van der Hem (updated 27 August 2008), http://cartography.geog.uu.nl/research/vanderhem.html.] Some of the earliest composite atlases, including those of sixteenth-century Venetian publishers such as Lafréry and Salamanca, were clearly assembled for clients.[9][David Woodward, "Italian Composite Atlases of the Sixteenth Century,"in Images of the World: The Atlas through History, ed. John A. Wolter and Ronald E. Grim, 51-70 (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1997).] In terms of the wide variations seen in Faden's atlas, it is probable that the purchaser was involved in the selection of plates for the bound volume, based on individual budget, taste and interests, specific map availability, and perhaps Faden's own recommendations. Knowledge of the provenance of an individual composite atlas, particularly in terms of the intents and interests of the original owner, might be very helpful in understanding the reasons behind the varied compilations: that information is often difficult to find.

What information we have about the individual maps in this particular atlas are included in the individual description that accompany each map image, including descriptions, full title, contributors, physical details, date of individual map publication, and publisher. The images are high resolution, and can be zoomed to allow examination of greater local detail. We hope you enjoy the display.

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