Mitchell’s Ancient Atlas

In Special Collections & Archives is a 1858 volume of Mitchell’s Ancient Atlas, “containing maps illustrating classical and sacred geography.”

Samuel Augustus Mitchell was an educator and, later in life, writer and publisher of maps. Mitchell Company was one of the first in the publishing industry to engrave on steel plates.

The atlas is based on works by the “writers of antiquity” and on “sacred geography.” The indexes give the ancient name of each location, its class (towns, rivers, mountains, etc.), country name, which map it can be found on, and the location’s “modern” name. While neither the Garden of Eden nor the lost city of Atlantis are featured, the color-illustrated maps are gorgeous and represent important historical events like Alexander the Great’s route from Greece to India and Babylon; the extent of the Roman Empire’s land holdings at its height around A.D. 107; and the countries mentioned in the Old Testament.

The book belonged to Miss Maggie Cooper, a student of “Orleans Female Academy” (most likely the New Orleans Female Dominican Academy, now St. Mary’s Dominican High School). Her handwritten notes mark several pages of the book.

Loyola’s fully digitized copy of the Ancient Atlas can be viewed online in the Louisiana Digital Library or in person in Special Collections & Archives, where we also have an 1844 edition. Other Mitchell’s atlases (Mitchell’s Ancient Geography and an 1856 Ancient Atlas) can be found in the Internet Archive.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives

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