Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse (1741-ca. 1788) entered the French Navy at the age of fifteen and served in action against the British off North America in the Seven Years War. He later served in India and China and became famous when he captured two British forts in Hudson Bay. In 1785 he was appointed to lead an exploratory expedition to the Pacific Ocean using two ships that would become famous: the Astrolabe and the Boussole. Among the crew were an astronomer, a physicist, three naturalists, a mathematician, and a number of draftsmen.
Leaving Brest in 1785 and rounding Cape Horn he visited the Spanish colonies in Chile, Easter Island, Hawaii and Alaska. After losing twenty one of the party in a landing operation, the expedition visited Monterey, California, and then sailed to the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Sailing next to Kamchatka, he arranged to have manuscripts and drawings by members of the expedition sent across Russia to France where they arrived one year later. The two ships next sailed back to the South Pacific where they disappeared. Many years later evidence was found of the ships being wrecked on reefs and the crews killed by natives. The drawings and maps which survive today in the atlas first published in Paris in 1797 are a tribute and merely an insight into what would have been an enormous cache of information on the Pacific world if the expedition had survived. Subsequent editions of text and atlas were published in English, Dutch, Swedish, and Italian. Interestingly, this map, from the English edition, shows depth soundings.
As the title of the map indicates, Alaska's Bucareli Bay had been named in a 1775 expedition by Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, commander of the ship Sonora, and in honor of Antonio Maria de Bucareli y Ursúa, the Viceroy of New Spain. To the east the twenty-five mile long bay connects to various waterways, such as San Alberto Bay, and to the west it opens directly to the Pacific Ocean. $325
"North Western America Showing the Territory Ceded by Russia to the United States."Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell Jr., 1867. 11 1/2 x 14 5/8. Lithograph. Full original hand color. Very good condition.
A map of Alaska, showing "Seward's Folly" the same year it was ceded by Russia to the United States for $7,200,000. At the time there was much controversy about this purchase-subsequently seen to be one of the best acquisitions ever made for the country. The map shows the general absence of development or settlement in the territory, as well as overall lack of knowledge of the geography of Alaska, which explains why this purchase was so misunderstood. This map was based by Philadelphia mapmaker, S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. upon a large map done by the U.S. Coastal Survey. The coastlines and major rivers are shown with excellent accuracy, but only slight indication is given of the shape of other inland features like the Chigmit Mountains. $195
"Alaska." Chicago: George F. Cram, ca. 1880. 9 5/8 x 12 3/8. Color cerograph. Very good condition. $60
U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. "Aliaska Peninsula and Adjacent Islands 1888." Large folding map to accompany Report on Explorations of Alaskan Fishing Grounds, in Bulletin U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries for 1888. 30 1/2 x 63 (full sheet). Printed by lithography by Matthews, Northrup & Co. in Buffalo and New York. Slight chipping along top border just touching neatlines. Not in Phillips, Maps. A scarce survivor. $225
"Alaska." New York: Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company, 1889. Ca. 3 x 5. Chromolithograph by Donaldson Brothers. Very good condition.
From a delightful series of maps issued by the Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company. This firm was founded by John and Charles Arbuckle of Pittsburgh, PA. They developed a machine to weigh, fill, seal and label coffee in paper packages, which allowed them to become the largest importer and seller of coffee in the world. Their most famous promotional program involved the issuing of several series of small, colorful trading cards, one of which was included in every package of Arbuckle's Coffee. These series included cards with sports, food, historic scenes, and--one of the most popular--maps. The latter cards included not only a map, but also small illustrations "which portrays the peculiarities of the industry, scenery, etc." of the region depicted. These cards are a delight, containing informative maps as well as wonderful scenes of the area mapped. $60
"Alaska." From Rand McNally & Co.'s Indexed Atlas of the World. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1892. 9 1/4 x 12 1/8. Chromolithograph. Very good condition. $55
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