Joseph Hutchins Colton immigrated to the United States from England in 1850. He began his publishing business in New York City in 1831. During his first ten years, Colton purchased rights to use the maps of other mapmakers, most notably S. Stiles & Co., rather than employing an engraver. During the 1840ís and 1850ís Coltonís firm primarily produced guidebooks, immigrant and railroad maps, and later on, Civil War maps.
Coltonís first atlas Coltonís Atlas of the World was first issued in two volumes in 1855 and 1856. In 1857, Colton reduced this to a single volume atlas, and changed the title to Coltonís General Atlas, which was published in a relatively unaltered format until 1888. This is the first atlas to which his son, George Woolworth Colton, contributed. Both G.W. Colton and Charles (C.B.) Colton succeeded their fatherís business. The 1859 edition Atlas credited Johnson and Browning as publisher. This credit disappeared following Coltonís 1860 edition. In that same year, Johnson and Browning purchased the Atlas plates from Colton and launched Johnsonís New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas, which credited Colton as publisher in the 1860 and 1861 editions. J.H. Colton and Co. was succeeded by Johnson and Browning. Additionally, Family Atlas, published in 1862 and 1863 is credited to Johnson and Ward, successors to Johnson and Browning.
Maps published by Colton can be found in the collections of
The Library of Congress - http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/,
The Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection - http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/,
and The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection - http://www.davidrumsey.com/, among many others.
Coltonís maps are part of many state collections including those of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Maryland and have been used as welcoming images on state websites.
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Crazier, L. Surveys and Surveyors of the Public Domain, 1785-1975. Washington DC: US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 1993.
Groce, G. C. and D. H. Wallace. The New York Historical Societyís Dictionary of Artists in America: 1564-1860. New Haven: Yale, 1957.
Rumsey, D. Cartographica Extraordinaire. Redlands, California: ESRI., 2004
Southeast Asia in the nineteenth century, 1800-1945. DISCovering World History. Online Edition. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2003.
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