Lucas, Fielding Jr. (1781—1854) was a prominent American publisher notable for his editions of large illustrated atlases, drawing books, and Thomas L. McKenney's landmark 1827 work, Sketches of a tour to the lakes, of the character and customs of the Chippeway Indians, and of incidents connected with the Treaty of Fond du Lac. He was the earliest successful commercial map-publisher in the city of Baltimore. Lucas also established Baltimore as a center for the publication of Catholic religious titles.
Early history and family
Fielding Lucas, Jr. was born in 1781 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was the son of Zachariah and Nancy Lucas, and was named for an uncle. At an early age he moved to Philadelphia, and by 1804 he appears in Baltimore as the local agent for the Philadelphia bookseller M. and J. Conrad and Company. In 1807 the partnership of Conrad, Lucas and Company commenced business as booksellers and publishers in Baltimore. The partners owned one of earliest paper mills established in the Baltimore area. This partnership dissolved and Lucas commenced business under his own name in 1810. Lucas married Elizabeth Mary Carrel of Philadelphia in 1810. One of their sons, George A. Lucas, became an influential art collector. Three sons, Edward, William and Henry, continued the family business as the stationery firm Lucas Bros., Inc.
Lucas first achieved prominence as an atlas and map publisher. Atlases were popular among citizens in the young, growing United States, and Lucas was notable for issuing high quality maps that were both elegant and informative. He published atlases in 1817 and 1823, and his maps appeared in the atlases of others, including the Complete Historical, Chronological and Geographical American Atlas issued by Philadelphia's leading publisher, Mathew Carey of the firm Carey & Lea in 1822.
In 1834, Lucas published the first "The Metropolitan Catholic Calendar and Laity's Directory" - an annual calendar, which was renamed to "Metropolitan Catholic Almanac" by him in 1838. In the issue of 1845 there is inserted a map of the United States, "prepared at much expense to exhibit at a glance the extent and relative situation of the different dioceses", with a table of comparative statistics from 1835 to 1845. A list of the clergy in England and Ireland was added in the volume for 1850. Because of Lucas and a younger contemporary, Ireland-born John Murphy, Baltimore was the major center of Catholic publishing until it shifted to New York at the beginning of the twentieth century.
In 1866, his son, William F. Lucas, acquired the Lucas Bros. printing and stationery business.
Books & Atlases
Below are some of the books by Lucas:
- A new and elegant general atlas: Containing maps of each of the United States - 1814 (ASIN B0008CQOE6)
- A general atlas containing distinct maps of all the known countries in the world - 1825 (ASIN B00086F6GY)
- Lucas' progressive drawing book (3 parts) - 1827 (ASIN B00086EK3O)
- "Fielding Lucas, Jr., early 19th century publisher of fine books and maps" - By James W Foster (ASIN B0007DSCF0)
As an artist, Lucas helped publish one of the first color plate books titled "Flora's Dictionary" for which a 1837 review reads thus: "One of the most popular genres of color plate books in the antebellum period were those devoted to the sentiments associated with flowers. Colored illustrations of flowers were accompanied by a text which guided the reader through the hidden meanings of different blooms, with quotations and poetry appropriate to each. This is a pioneering example of this type, issued by the publishers of many early books with color, Fielding Lucas of Baltimore. Similar works were issued at every level of quality and size, from pocket-sized volumes with crude plates to highly finished folios."
David Rumsey states that, "While the same base maps were used... the maps in [this] Lucas Atlas are far superior in quality - Welch re-engraved many of the maps for Lucas that Young & Delker has engraved for Carey & Lea."
Rumsey further notes that the "Lucas General Atlas" of 1823 was the "finest general atlas produced in the U.S. at the time", setting aside the Tanner and Finley atlases as specialized publications.
- Foster, James W. (1956). Fielding Lucas, Jr., Early 19th Century Publisher of Fine Books and Maps. American Antiquarian Society. p. 181.
- Papenfuse, Edward C. (2003). Maryland State Archives Atlas of Historical Maps of Maryland 1608-1908. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 68–71. ISBN 0-8018-7235-9.
- David Rumsay's (Online) Historical Map collection: look for Lucas, Fielding in the list of historical atlases.
- A History of Printing in Maryland: Selections From The Marylandia Collection
- Maryland’s Fabulous Firsts
- BibleWiki: Directories, Catholic (Catholic Encyclopedia) - Reference to Metropolitan Catholic Almanac
- Peabody archives, City of Baltimore: Family papers
Category:1781 births]] Category:1854 deaths]] Category:American cartographers]]
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