Moses Pitt (ca. 1654-96), The English Atlas (1680)

The English Atlas (1680)

Moses Pitt was neither a cartographer nor a scholar, yet in 1670 he undertook a project that came to be called The English Atlas. Based on the concept of the Grand Atlas by Joan Blaeu, Pitt's atlas was to consist of eleven volumes, but only four were completed (covering places "next to the North-pole," Muscovy, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and the seventeen provinces of the Low Countries). Despite the seemingly difficult, if not unrealistic, task at hand, Pitt's endeavor was backed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Pitt looked forward to printing a reissue of a Dutch atlas in an "English guise," whereas his partners looked forward to the prospect of printing an up-to-date atlas. Conflicts of interest, economics, and lack of feasibility of the envisioned project eventually led to its demise.

Courtesy of the Wisconsin State Historical Society