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Newly acquired maps or maps of particular interest


Ortelius: Iceland
Abraham Ortelius. "Islandia." From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp: Aegidius Coppen Diesth, [1587]. 13 3/4 x 18 1/2 (neat lines) plus full margins. Engraving. Latin text on back. Fine hand color. Very good condition.

One of the most desirable of all Dutch maps from the sixteenth century, Abraham Ortelius' famous map of Iceland. It was issued in 'the first modern atlas,' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, ('Theater of the World'). The publication of this atlas marked an epoch in the history of cartography, for it is the first uniform and systematic collection of maps of the whole world based only on contemporary knowledge since the days of Ptolemy. In the sixteenth century there was a great increase in interest in maps and charts, and Ortelius, as a businessman with a passion for history and cartography, was at the forefront in meeting this demand. Through his collecting and his antiques business, Ortelius was able to research contemporary maps, becoming the greatest expert of his day in the bibliography of maps. Ortelius based his work on the best maps available, drawing all the maps himself with the celebrated Frans Hogenberg cutting most of the plates. Unlike other atlas-makers, Ortelius cited the authors of the original maps from which he compiled his work. Thus it is not only for his unprecedented achievement in issuing the first modern atlas, but also for his thoughtful and rigorous methodology, that Ortelius belongs amongst the first rank of cartographers. He is very aptly called 'the father of modern cartography.'

This map of Iceland is one of Ortelius' most famous maps because it is as decorative as any map issued in the sixteenth century, or for that matter, ever. It shows the volcano Mt. Hekla erupting, a herd of polar bears on ice floes, and sea monsters teeming in the surrounding waters. These are identified on the verso of the map, making this a contemporary compendium of "known" sea monsters. $9,500

Sanson North America
Nicolas Sanson. "Amerique Septentrionale." Paris: Mariette, [1650]-1659. Third state. 15 1/2 x 22. Engraving. Original hand color. Mark extending into image in top center and a few minor marginal blemishes. Else, very good condition. Burden #294, state 3.

This is one of the most significant maps of North America, and the first map to show all five Great Lakes. Nicolas Sanson, known as the 'father of French cartography,' is one of the great figures in the history of cartography. Beginning his mapmaking career at the age of 18, Sanson went on to be appointed the first geographer-royal to Louis XIII of France (1640). Due to his royal position Sanson had access to the official French records of the explorations in the New World and used this information to establish himself at the forefront of the mapping of the Americas. Following the expeditions of Champlain in the 1620s, a new picture came to Europe of the interior of North America. Sanson was the first to compile this information, from Champlain and the Jesuits that followed him, into an depiction that included all five Great Lakes.

This is the map that first represented all of the lakes, and the first to name Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. The map shows the complete extent of the Jesuit exploration and mapping of the region. Besides its importance concerning the Great Lakes, this map is also significant for its depiction of the trans-Mississippi west, and its naming of the Indian tribes before the great dispersions of the 1640's and 1650's. Though erroneous, the maps graphically shows California as an island, one of the most famous myths about North America. This map established the predominant image of North America for the remainder of the 17th century. Its significance is reflected in that its original date of publication, 1650, is usually given as the date of the switch in cartographic dominance from The Netherlands to France. This is the third state of the map where Lake Ontario is now shaded like the other Great Lakes. $6,500

Fremont's American West
John Charles Frémont, with Charles Preuss. "Map of an Exploring Expedition To The Rocky Mountains in the Years 1842 and to Oregon & North California in the Years 1843-44 By Brevet Capt. J. C. Fremont of the Corps of Topographical Engineers..." Washington, 1845. House issue. 30 x 50. Lithograph by E. Weber & Co. Some outline color. Backed on linen. Repaired tear in upper right corner and some light surface stains. Overall, very good condition for a fragile map. Wheat: 497. Denver.

A seminal map of the American West by John C. Frémont depicting the results of his explorations between 1842 and 1844. Frémont, popularly known as the "Pathfinder," was instrumental in opening the American West. In 1842, he was sent out by the U.S. Government to explore what soon came to be known as the Oregon Trail, as far west as the South Pass through the Rockies. The following years, Frémont was sent out again, at the instigation of Senator Thomas Hart Benton (Frémont's father-in-law) to further explore the northwest part of the country, following the Oregon Trail all the way to the Pacific Ocean. In 1845, the government issued a report of these two expeditions which covered vast lands between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. Through this report Frémont achieved great fame, leading to his election as Senator from California and later to his selection as the first Presidential nominee for the Republican Party.

This important map depicts the surveying that Frémont did during those expeditions, as well as information from the earlier explorations of Jedidiah Smith. The map encompasses all the area between Kansas and the Pacific, and a profile of Frémont's route from the mouth of the Kansas River to the ocean is included at the top. As Carl Wheat noted, "John Frémont's map of 1845 represented as important a step forward from the earlier western maps of the period as did those of Pike, Long and Lewis and Clark in their day." He goes on to state that the map "radically and permanently altered western cartography," and that it "is a an altogether memorable document in the cartographic history of the West, and for it along Frémont would deserve to be remembered in history." $1,750

Nebraksa and Kansas
"Nebraska and Kansas." New York: J.H. Colton, 1854. Separately issued folding map, with original covers. First edition, second state. 28 x 20 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Printed by D. McLellan. With inset "Map of the Territory Acquired from Mexico by the Gadsden Treaty 1854." Some light stains. Old separations at folds and tiny missing sections in corners of folds; expertly conserved. Overall, good appearance and condition. Covers with stamped title; some wear. Denver.

The first map to show the newly created territories of Nebraska and Kansas, issued the year of the Nebraska-Kansas Act. Prior to this the great plains was unorganized, Indian territory, but the large number of emigrants crossing them, along with the desire to build a trans-continental railroad through them, led to a pressing need bring the plains under some form of governmental and private control. The conflict between the slave states in the South and the free states in the North kept Congress from organizing the plains until they were able to create these two new territories in 1854 using the compromise of bringing them in under "popular sovereignty."

This wonderful map shows the two territories, as well as surrounding areas with impressive detail, based to a great extent of the latest military surveys. This map came out just at the beginning of the great plains settlement and development and the map shows the locations of towns and proposed routes for the trans-continental railroad, as well as the Santa Fe and Oregon trails. Missions, rivers, and the myriad Indian tribes are also detailed. Of particular note are a number of wonderful western vignettes of Indians, wildlife and a wagon train, these ornamental features adding to the decorative border and bright hand color. In the lower part of the map are an inset of North America and one showing the Gadsden Purchase of 1854. $6,850

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