Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792 – 1868)
Samuel Mitchell was a school teacher frustrated with the low quality and inaccuracy of maps of the early 19th century. As a result, in the early 1830’s he began his map publishing business in an attempt to rectify the problem. During the ensuing 20 years, he became the most prominent American map publisher of the era.
He obtained full copyright protection on his maps in 1847, many of which were collaborations with well-known engravers J. H. Young, H. S. Tanner and H. N. Burroughs. In 1849, he sought the help of printer Cowperthwait & Company and produced Mitchell’s Universal Atlas and Mitchell’s General Atlas.
In the 1850’s, his copyrights were purchased by Desilver and Co. which continued to publish his maps until Mitchell’s son, Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Jr. repurchased the copyrights. In the 1860’s, the son published his own New General Atlas and carried the Mitchell name into the late 1880’s when the copyrights were again sold ending the Mitchell family business.