From Tanner, Vallance, Kearny, & Company
Philadelphia, August 1st, 1817.
The publishers of the American Atlas, the prospectus and plan of which are subjoined, respectfully solicit your aid in behalf of the undertaking. The unusual expense necessary in the proposed work, which is intended to give a correct and minute geographical view of each of the United States on an extensive scale, induces them to adopt this method of obtaining the requisite encouragement for executing it in a style worthy of our country, and the flourishing state of the Arts. The publishers respectfully submit the following plan of the work to your consideration, which they confidently trust will receive your approbation and that of the American Public.
TANNER, VALLANCE, KEARNY, & CO.
Broadside (DLC: Printed Ephemera Collection); with enclosure on verso; addressed: “Thos Jefferson Esqr Monticello Va”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 4 Aug.; endorsed by TJ as a “Circular” from “Tanner & co.” received 18 Aug. 1817 but recorded in SJL with date of receipt corrected to 19 Aug. 1817. Enclosure: prospectus by Tanner, Vallance, Kearny, & Company for a New and Elegant American Atlas, stating that the geographer John Henry Eddy, of New York, will draw the maps; describing European maps of the United States as “extremely defective and incorrect”; indicating that the work will include maps of the world and of each individual state and territory; specifying that the state maps will be engraved from original drawings when possible and will include geographic features as well as cities, towns, villages, and the principal roads; announcing that the first maps will be ready for publication the following autumn; advertising that they will be “purely American” in execution, printed on “first quality Columbier paper,” and “coloured in an elegant and appropriate manner”; stipulating that the work will be completed in thirteen segments, of which the first twelve will contain three sheets and the last will have five, including “an elegant engraved title sheet”; listing the price as $5 per segment, payable on delivery, with anyone who obtains five subscriptions and makes himself responsible for their payment eligible to receive a sixth set free; requesting previously unpublished geographical information from “gentlemen residing in the interior”; and concluding with a blank subscription list (broadside in DLC: Printed Ephemera Collection; on verso of covering circular letter).
Tanner, Vallance, Kearny, & Company was an engraving firm established in Philadelphia by Benjamin Tanner, his brother Henry S. Tanner, John Vallance, and Francis Kearny. The firm, which was active by 1817 and dissolved early in 1820, issued the first two folios of the New American Atlas in 1819. After it dissolved, Henry S. Tanner finished the last three folios alone, 1821–23. The final total of maps had been significantly reduced in order to lower production costs, but the work was still significant for its use of a uniform and ambitious scale of fifteen geographical miles to the inch for the state maps and for its citation of the sources it employed (H. Glenn Brown and Maude O. Brown, A Directory of the Book-Arts and Book Trade in Philadelphia to 1820, Including Painters and Engravers , 69, 116, 117, 120; John Adems Paxton, The Philadelphia Directory and Register [Philadelphia, 1818] and [Philadelphia, 1819]; Philadelphia Franklin Gazette, 27 Jan. 1820; Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers description begins Walter W. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, 1985, repr. 1986 description ends , 191–3).
Benjamin Tanner (1775–1848) was a native of New York City who apprenticed to a French engraver in that city before relocating permanently to Philadelphia about 1799. Among other endeavors he partnered with Francis Kearny and Cornelius Tiebout in a banknote-engraving firm beginning in 1817. From 1835 onwards Tanner worked solely on engraving checks and banknotes. He retired in 1845 and died in Baltimore (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Brown and Brown, Directory of the Book-Arts, 116; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 23 Nov. 1848).
Henry Schenck Tanner (1786–1858) was born in New York City and moved as a youth to Philadelphia to learn engraving from his elder brother Benjamin Tanner. The younger Tanner specialized in cartography and engraved numerous maps, atlases, and other geographical works. By 1844 he moved back to New York City, where he died (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers description begins Walter W. Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, 1985, repr. 1986 description ends ; Brown and Brown, Directory of the Book-Arts, 116; McElroy’s Philadelphia Directory for 1843 , 275; The New-York City Directory for 1844 & 1845 , 339; New York Evening Post, 18 May 1858).
John Vallance (ca. 1771–1823) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and moved permanently in about 1791 to Philadelphia, where he worked as an engraver specializing in scrip and banknotes. He partnered early in his career with James Thackara. Vallance died in Philadelphia (Mantle Fielding, Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers [1926; repr. 1974], 380; Brown and Brown, Directory of the Book-Arts, 117, 120).
Francis Kearny (1785–1837) was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. After studying drawing in New York City, he apprenticed to an engraver there at age eighteen. Kearny opened his own engraving business in New York before moving to Philadelphia in 1810. After partnering briefly in several firms, he worked on his own, specializing in engravings for periodicals and religious works. Kearny died in Perth Amboy (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; William Dunlap, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States [1834; repr. 1969], 2:211–2; Brown and Brown, Directory of the Book-Arts, 69; New York Evening Post, 2 Sept. 1837).
- books; atlases search
- Eddy, John Henry; as geographer search
- Kearny, Francis; identified search
- maps; of U.S. search
- subscriptions, for publications; atlases search
- Tanner, Benjamin; identified search
- Tanner, Henry Schenck; identified search
- Tanner, Vallance, Kearny, & Company (Philadelphia firm); atlas by search
- Tanner, Vallance, Kearny, & Company (Philadelphia firm); identified search
- Tanner, Vallance, Kearny, & Company (Philadelphia firm); letter from search
- Vallance, John; identified search