by Brian Zylstra | September 25th, 2012
(Photo courtesy of Washington State Library)
It’s time for the September edition of “Library jewels,” our monthly blog series that highlights rare, interesting or just plain cool items found in the State Library.
Our first jewel definitely falls under the “rare” category. It’s a book printed in 1814 and entitled “A geographical view of the British possessions in North America,” by M. (Michael) Smith. The book is part of the State Library’s Territorial Collection.
When this book was written, the land that is now Washington was considered to be under British control. Later this land and the other lands that formed the Oregon Country came under dispute as more Americans began to arrive after the U.S. and Great Britain signed the Treaty of 1818. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 ended the disputed joint occupancy and established the British-American boundary at the 49th parallel, which remains the border between Washington and British Columbia.
This Balitmore edition differs from the three previous editions (Hartford, New York Trenton and Philadelphia, all published in 1813) in that it contains an additional 60 pages, including an account of British hostilities that apparently compelled the British occupying Washington, D.C., to burn all arriving copies, according to bibliographer Wright Howes.
David Rumsey Cartography Associates has a map contemporary to this book that it has placed in its online Historic Maps Collection.
You can review a digitized copy of this work (taken from microform) at the Internet Archives.
The other two Library jewels for September will be featured later this week.