Francis Amasa Walker (2 Jul 1840 – 5 Jan 1897) graduated from Amherst College and practiced law before joining the Union Army where he eventually rose to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General. In 1869 he became the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics and on 7 Feb 1870, at age 29, was appointed the Superintendent of the Ninth Census.
The Atlas, beautifully lithographed by Julius Bien of New York, was published in several sections between Jul – Aug 1874. Walker’s dazzling presentation of maps and charts allowed, for the first time ever, at-a-glance comparisons of Census data on a national level and was widely praised by both cartographers and statisticians. One reviewer called it “a revelation of the capacity of graphic representation.” It was the de facto first National Altas and a watershed in American cartography.