Twentieth Century Atlas and Illustrated World

Rare Books: The Twentieth Century Atlas of the Commercial, Geographical and Historical World

File this one under “Comically Long Book Title.” I recently found an edition of The Twentieth Century Atlas of the Commercial, Geographical and Historical World (that’s the short title) at an antique store in Santa Barbara, California. The atlas, created by J. Martin Miller, was originally published in 1899 and was reissued several times between 1902 and 1909 by various publishers (Library of Congress, WorldCat). My particular copy, according to the copyright stamp, appears to have been republished in 1902 by Miller and L.G. Stahl.

Copyright stamp

I really love old maps and atlases. I am particularly fascinated by how historic maps and atlases often reflect geopolitical biases and can capture an antiquated (and often Anglo- and Euro-centric) worldview frozen in time. Naturally I was drawn to this atlas, but my favorite thing is its ridiculously long title. Most catalogs show the title simply as The Twentieth Century Atlas of the Commercial, Geographical and Historical World, but the title page shows the atlas’s original full title, reproduced below (deep inhale!):

The Twentieth Century Atlas of the Commercial, Geographical and Historical World with a Description of Every Known Land, Both Near and Remote, Ancient and Modern, Embracing Complete, Original and Authentic Maps of the Present Development of All Countries, Empires and States of the World Comprising Graphic Description of the People: Their Civilization, Their Religion, Their Government, Their Cities, Their Imports and Exports, Their Wealth, Their Railways, Their Canals, Their Cables, Their Telegraphs, etc., etc., Including Useful and Timely Statistics, Educational, Industrial Military, Naval.

They really don’t make book titles like that anymore. Here’s a visual:

See? The title takes up the entire page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

3 Comments

  • David January 14, 2012 Reply

    Awesome find. I actually just received my grandfather’s copy of this atlas a while ago and was doing some research on it. The copy I have is in much worse shape than yours…I had no idea it was so red at one point in time! 😉 Pretty cool old book, thanks for sharing.

  • Crystal January 16, 2014 Reply

    I just ran into a copy I received from a relative long ago.
    However, mine is not the 1902 version.
    My copy is dated 1984.

    I looked up the book on eBay just to see if I could find something about its worth, and there is only 1 other person selling this same 1984 book for $499.99.
    (Almost $500 which I find to be a lot of money for something that isn’t “truly” vintage).

    Does that sound about right for this 1984 edition of this “The World Book Great Geographical Atlas”?

    Also, is it just me, or does the title of the book sound a bit off?
    I would think it would be more like, “The Great Big Geographical World Atlas Book”
    Lol.

    I love the deep red, coffee table style appearance of the book, so I am not wanting to sell it or anything, would just be nice to find its worth.

    Wish I had a 1902 copy!!!
    Looks very “Circus like”!

    • Andrew Rogers July 3, 2014 Reply

      I have the 1902 edition that I’m looking to sell. 🙂
      -Andrew

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top