Fielding Lucas, Jr.

City plan of Baltimore by Lucas, Fielding Jr. 1852.

Lucas, Fielding Jr. (1781—1854) was a cartographer, an artist and a publisher of prominence during the early 19th century. He is known as the earliest successful commercial map-publisher in the city of Baltimore. The first of his atlases was published in 1815-17, in which the maps are closely associated with the 1822 edition of Philadelphia atlas by Carey & Lea.

Career history

Lucas founded Lucas Bros. Inc. in 1804 which was located at 116, East Baltimore Street, and became the first stationer in the United States. In 1806 Lucas served as the Baltimore manager of the Philadelphia publishing firm, Conrad, Lucas, and Co., when it opened its offices there.

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 City 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 published by Lucas:


General Atlas of the world by Lucas, Fielding Jr. 1823.

As an artist, Lucas helped publish one of the first color plate books titled "Flora's Dictionary", for which an 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.

See also


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