Rare Danish world atlas

S[øren] E[liasen] Holm, SAMLING af 50 smaae Landkort i Traesnit til Brug for Skolerne paa Landet. [Denmark:] S.E. Holm, 1829.
Ca. 8”h x 6 ¾”w. 50 leaves of laid paper, including woodcut title plus 1 two-sheet and 48 single-sheet woodcut maps, all hand colored in outline at an early date. Wraps printed in repeating pattern of blue and red diamonds, with red paper spine.

The “Samling af 50 smaae Landkort,” a charming 1829 Danish-language school atlas compiled and published by a troubled educator.

The atlas includes a double-sheet map of the world and 49 single-sheet maps of the continents; European countries, Russia and Turkey; and Danish regions, all in early outline color (The title calls for 50 maps, counting the world map as two.) The Danish regional maps show boundaries, rivers and roads, and towns and villages, and several also use symbols to indicate cities, fortresses, churches and other features of the human landscape. The smaller-scale maps show little more than major cities, mountain ranges and rivers.

The title page bears a date of 1829, while the individual maps are dated between 1819 and 1826. The different dates on many of the maps suggests that they were released individually and only gathered into an atlas in or after 1826. The Danish Union Catalog lists editions with publication dates from 1819-1840, though not one for 1829 (The 1819 date likely reflects an individual map rather than the entire atlas).

The atlas was published by Danish schoolteacher Søren Eliasen Holm as a means of providing poor village schoolchildren the rudiments of geography. It is said that in 1814 Holm took the rather extreme step of castrating himself to avoid having more children.

The Danish Union Catalog lists editions of 1819 (though I am skeptical of this early date), 1826, 1828, 1837, and 1840 (with a “?”), but not this edition of 1829. WorldCat lists no institutional holdings in the United States. Not in Phillips, Atlases


Very minor soiling to maps, corners bumped and slightly dog-eared, wraps with minor tears, spine perished.