David H. Burr

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David H. Burr
Born August 1803
Died 1875
Occupation Cartography, surveyor, topographer
Map of Rensselaer County, New York, United States in 1829, by David H. Burr

David Burr (1803–1875) was an American cartographer, surveyor and topographer. He served in two positions for the United States government, as the official topographer for the United States Post Office Department from 1832 until 1838, and the official geographer of the United States House of Representatives from 1838 until 1847.[1] He was also Surveyor General of Utah, from 1855 to 1857, before becoming a full-time cartographer.[2]

Early life[edit]

David Burr was born in August 1803 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He moved to Kingsboro, New York in 1822 and attended law school. He passed the New York bar to become a lawyer. After becoming a member of the New York State Bar Association, he joined the New York State Militia.[2]

Professional work[edit]

He started working as a surveyor for Simeon De Witt, surveying roads in New York. Areas of the state were being rapidly developed in relation to industrialization and increased trade from the Erie Canal. He published his first atlas in 1829, the Atlas of the State of New York, for the state government. This was the second atlas ever sponsored by and for a state.[2]

In 1832 Burr became the official topographer of the United States Post Office Department.[1] In 1835 he published the New Universial Atlas.[3] He also maintained the routes of the United States Postmaster Generals. He created a map of their routes, which feature details about the roads, canals and railroads. The map, called The American Atlas, was published in 1838. It was published in London, England by John Arrowsmith.[1]

That year, Burr left the Post Office Department and was appointed as the official geographer of the House of Representatives of the United States, serving nine years until 1847.[1] He became the Surveyor General of Utah in 1855, retiring there in 1857. He became a full-time cartographer.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Map of the United States of North America with Parts of the Adjacent Countries". World Digital Library. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "David H. Burr". Geographicus. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Walker, James. "Cartography of Oregon, 1507-1848". Oregon Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 

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