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Antique Maps of Iowa

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Prior to the arrival of Europeans, many Indian tribes inhabited what was to become the state of Iowa, including the Iowa, Sauk, Mesquakie, Sioux, Potawatomi, Otoe and Missouri. The first Europeans to arrive were the explorers Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette, who passed through in 1673. The region was part of French Louisiana and was purchased by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The first official non-Indian settlement began in 1833 with the Black Hawk Purchase of a band of land along the Mississippi River north from Missouri. Settlers moved into the region, expanding westward from the river, for though the conditions were hard, the soil was found to be excellent for farming. In 1838 Iowa became a territory with Burlington as its capital. This was moved to Iowa City in 1841 and five years later Iowa was admitted as the 29th state. In 1857 the capital moved for the final time, to Des Moines. The population of the state continued to grow, especially after the Civil War, when it almost doubled in the decade between 1860 to 1870.


"A New Map of The State of Iowa." Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1854. 13 x 15 7/8. Lithographic transfer from engraved plate. Full original color. Narrow margin at top due to original binding, else very good condition.

A strong and beautifully crafted map of Iowa from the mid-nineteenth century, published by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.. This firm took over the publication of S. Augustus Mitchell’s important Universal Atlas in 1850, and they continued to produce up-dated maps that were amongst the best issued in the period. This map shows Iowa at an interesting time in its development. The map is filled with myriad topographical details, including rivers, towns, lakes and political borders. This firm’s maps are especially known for their depiction of the transportation routes of the states, and this map is no exception. The transportation infrastructure was extremely important at this period of increased immigration and travel in the American mid-west. This information is clearly depicted, including roads, rail lines—existing, in progress, and proposed—and canals. The map has a striking appearance, with warm hand coloring that well compliments the clear presentation. For its fascinating detail and decorative appeal, this is an excellent Iowa document. $185



"Iowa." New York: J.H. Colton & Co., 1856. 12 3/4 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Full original hand-coloring. Very good condition.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The J.H. Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. This map of Iowa, with its fine detail, is a strong example of their successful work. The map presents the counties in contrasting pastel shades, and includes depictions of towns, rivers, marshes, and some topography. Of particular interest are the indications of the burgeoning transportation network in the state, with roads and railroads clearly shown, especially in the eastern part of the state and along the southern tier of the state, connecting De Moines with Omaha City and Elkhorn City in Nebraska. An attractive map as well as a worthwhile historical document. $175



"Iowa." New York: J.H. Colton & Co., 1857. 12 5/8 x 15 1/8. Lithograph. From Colton's General Atlas. Full original hand-coloring. Some spotting. Else, very good condition.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The J.H. Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. This map of Iowa, with its fine detail, is a strong example of their successful work. The map presents the counties in contrasting pastel shades, and includes depictions of towns, rivers, marshes, and some topography. Of particular interest are the indications of the burgeoning transportation network in the state, with roads and railroads clearly shown, especially in the eastern part of the state and along the southern tier of the state, connecting Des Moines with Omaha City and Elkhorn City in Nebraska. An attractive map as well as a worthwhile historical document. $125



"County Map of the States of Iowa and Missouri." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1861. 14 x 11 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. took over his father's map publishing business in Philadelphia and continued to issue fine atlases in the early part of the nineteenth century. This map focuses on Iowa with its southern neighbor, in contrast to the competing map above. The scale is slightly smaller and Mitchell does not have quite as much topographical detail, so that the roads and railroads show up a bit more prominently. A nice decorative and historically interesting map. $85



"Johnson's Iowa and Nebraska." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1861. 17 x 22 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Short repaired tear into bottom. Otherwise, very good condition.

A detailed early map of Iowa and Nebraska at an important time in the development of both. Nebraska, which did not become a state for another five years, had lost the top two thirds of its original territory (that part became the Dakota Territory) in 1861. Most of the western emigration at the time was passing further to the south, but there was some development along the Missouri River between Iowa and Nebraska, and along the Platte River. Iowa is shown well settled here, but Nebraska has development only to the east of the 98th meridian, with the entire western part of the territory not even shown on this map. An indication is made of a proposed route for the Pacific Railroad, running through Nebraska. A detailed and interesting picture of this region just at the end of the Civil War. $165



"Iowa." New York: J.H. Colton & Co., 1866 12 5/8 x 15 1/8. Lithograph. From Colton's General Atlas. Full original hand-coloring. Very good condition.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The J.H. Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. This map of Iowa, with its fine detail, is a strong example of their successful work. The map presents the counties in contrasting pastel shades, and includes depictions of towns, rivers, marshes, and some topography. Of particular interest is that this updated atlas map shows the counties as they appeared after 1858, when Palo Alto County was created, and after the name of Buncombe County was changed to Lyon County in 1862. $175



"Gray's Atlas Map of Iowa." Philadelphia: O. W. Gray, 1873. 15 7/8 x 23 1/8. From Gray's Atlas of the United States. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A nicely detailed map of Iowa showing counties, towns, canals, roads, railroads & topography by the Philadelphia firm of O.W. Gray and Son. The firm began its publishing around mid-century and published regional and U.S. atlases up to the 1880s. This map is typical of their work, and its attractive presentation and interesting detail make it a nice example of late nineteenth century Philadelphia cartography. Of note, this map shows Crocker County (misspelled here “Crooker”) which was created from Kossuth County in 1870 but declared defunct by the state’s Supreme Court in December, 1871, for being too small to meet constitutional requirements. $175



"Asher & Adams' Iowa." New York: Asher & Adams, 1874. Double folio. 15 1/2 x 22 1/4. Lithograph. Full original hand color. Full margins. Some separation at center fold. Else, very good condition.

A large, bright map of Iowa. Copious topographical information shows myriad rivers and lakes, as well as towns and counties. This map shows the short-lived "Crocker County," carved off from Kossuth County in 1870, but eliminated by the State Supreme Court in 1871. Also shown are counties of Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota near their borders with Iowa. Of particular note are the rail lines in the state, an important and fascinating feature. Attractive and filled with detail, a nice map of the state from the nineteenth century. $135



"County & Township Map of the States of Iowa and Missouri." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1874. 21 1/2 x 14 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A larger version of the Mitchell map of these two states. By the 1870s, these states had grown tremendously in terms of population and internal development and this map well represents that growth. The larger scale allows for more detail of rivers, towns, roads, and railroads. $120



Frank A. Gray. "Gray's New Map of Iowa." Philadelphia: O.W. Gray & Son, 1876. 11 3/4 x 16. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A slightly later and slightly smaller map of Iowa by itself from the Gray firm of Philadelphia. $125



"Gray's New Map of Iowa." Philadelphia: O. W. Gray, 1881. 1 7/8 x 16 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

From one of their many atlases, this nicely detailed map of Iowa showing counties, towns, canals, roads, railroads and topography was made by the Philadelphia firm of O.W. Gray and Son. The firm began its publishing around mid-century and published regional and U.S. atlases up to the 1880s. This map is typical of their work, and its attractive presentation and interesting detail make it a nice example of late nineteenth century Philadelphia cartography. Of particular interest, the key allows the viewer to distinguish between regular railroad trackage and “narrow gauge” trackage. $125



"Iowa." Philadelphia: W.M. Bradley & Bro., 1884. From Mitchell's New General Atlas. 16 x 22. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A precisely detailed map from the Philadelphia publishing firm of William M. Bradley & Bro. Bradley took over the publication of Mitchell's New General Atlas in the early 1880s. This Iowa map is a fine example of nineteenth century American mapmaking. It shows the state in impressive detail, with emphasis on rivers, towns, and the myriad railroad lines criss-crossing the state. Counties are delineated with attractive, light pastel colors. $100



"Iowa." Edinburgh: J. Bartholomew, 1884. 11 x 16. Lithograph with printed color. Very good condition.

An unusual British state map. Good detail and up-to-date. $50



Arbuckle Iowa
"Iowa." 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



[Iowa]. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1899. From Rand McNally & Company's Indexed Atlas of the World. 19 x 25 3/4. Cerograph. Very good condition.

A late nineteenth century map from the early days of the Rand, McNally & Co. firm out of Chicago, a company that would shift the center of cartographic publishing from the east coast to the mid-west. Typical of the firm’s work, this map has very good detail precisely and neatly exhibited. Topographic and social information, counties, roads, and many more details are neatly illustrated. Aesthetically and cartographically, it foreshadows the maps of the twentieth century. $95



"Iowa." Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1909 19 x 25 3/4. From Rand McNally's New Business Atlas. Cerograph with full original color. Very good condition.

With a strong emphasis on the state’s railroads, as befits a business atlas. this map shows counties distinguished by colors, and is accompanied by a list of railroads and a key of cities and towns by population . One fascinating aspect of this map is the indication of "electric lines," which were electrified interurban trolleys. For one example, the state capital, Des Moines, in Polk County, was a hub with interurban lines radiating out to Valley Junction in the same county, Perry in Dallas County, Ames in Story County, and Newton in Jasper County. The reverse has map keys for "counties, creeks, lakes, rivers and towns." Altogether an attractive, interesting and informative document. $100



"Iowa." Chicago: Geographical Publishing Co., 1921. 14 3/4 x 21. Chromolithograph. Very good condition.

An early twentieth century map that has its own decorative appeal. $45




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