Issued by The Arbuckle Coffee Company, New York, 1889 and lithographed by Donaldson Brothers. The atlas measures 7 inches high by 11.25 inches wide, with 14 pages (50 maps) including the front and back covers.
An extremely nice example of this unusual atlas designed to advertise Arbuckle's Coffee. The atlas is printed on loose pages held together with original twisted string tie. The oblong 4to atlas has front and back covers, each with one map, plus 12 sheets, each containing four beautiful chromolithographic maps – for a total of fifty maps. The front pictorial cover features a fine bird's-eye view of the Capitol building in Washington with an eagle and small map of the District of Columbia on the U.S. shield. The back cover has a great map of Alaska surrounded by regional views of seals and whalers caught on an ice field by two Polar bears, plus a moonlit view of the Arbuckle's Coffee factory in New York All of the maps have vignettes describing the beauty or commerce of the region.
In the mid-1880's, Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company began to include advertising cards, referred to as "trade cards", in packages of their coffee. This was a common device used by businesses of the time to tout the virtues of their products. Arbuckle Co. carried the concept a step further and created a series of very desirable images. They then encouraged their customers to collect the entire series of cards and to trade cards with their neighbors in order to complete their sets. Thus, "trade" cards began to evolve into "trading" cards. Arbuckle issued a great variety of cards including birds, animals, cooking, satire, sports and maps. The map series of 1889 (U.S. States and Nations of the World), were extremely popular.
The atlases were a premium item, mostly for children (send in 15 premium seals from sacks of Arbuckle coffee plus a 2 cent stamp, and you would receive one of the atlases) so most of the few extant atlases are in pretty rough shape. This is a particularly nice complete example, very fresh and colorful, with only minor wear to the covers (chip at bck lower left corner).