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1846 wall map
J.H. Young. "Mitchell's Reference and Distance Map of the United States." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1846. Wall map; mounted on linen, varnished and with original rollers. 55 1/2 x 70 1/2. Engraving. Full original hand color. With some waterstaining and flaking at top, but else very good. Rumsey: 538. Denver.

A rare example of the important 1846 edition of S. Augustus Mitchell's popular wall map of the United States, drawn by J.H. Young. The "Reference and Distance Map" series began in 1834 and Mitchell regularly updated the new issues with current information. The main map shows the United States to the range of states just west of the Mississippi with great detail. Towns, rivers, lakes, and roads are shown throughout, and each county is colored in a contrasting shade. The particular significance of the map issued in 1846 comes from its inclusion of new information related to the American west. In the previous editions of this map, Mitchell had an inset map, "General Map of the United States," in the lower right corner. On this edition, Mitchell replaced this with a new inset map, "A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California" (19 x 21), which shows the region extending from the Mississippi to the Pacific coastline, and from the Rio Grande to southern Canada.

This area was of particular interest in 1846 because of two recent, related events. In 1845, Texas had been admitted to the Union as a new state, which prompted Mexico, in 1846, to invade Texas, thus precipitating the Mexican-American war. This inset was the first appearance of this map, which later the same year was issued by Mitchell as a folding, pocket map, and it is one of the first maps of just the Trans-Mississippi West. Mitchell used the latest information on the American west which was available at the time. Among his sources were Arrowsmith's 1841 map of Texas, Fremont's and Emory's maps of their explorations in the region, data from the Lewis & Clark expedition, Nicollet's map of the region between the Mississippi and the Missouri, Wilkes' map of Oregon. Mitchell shows the Oregon Territory borders according to the recent Compromise of 1846. $8,500

Macomb four corners
F.W. von Egloffstein after surveys by John N. Macomb. "Map of Explorations and Surveys in New Mexico and Capt. J.N. Macomb Topl. Engrs....1806." New York: Geographical Institute, 1864. 30 3/4 x 37 1/4. Tinted aquatint engraving. Some separation and very light discoloration at folds. Overall, very good condition. Wheat: 983. Denver.

A nice example of what Carl Wheat called "one of the most beautiful maps ever published by the Army," a map that "is a landmark map for various regions." It shows the region around the "four corners" in the American Southwest, based on surveys from an 1860 expedition led by Captain John N. Macomb to explore the Old Spanish Trail from New Mexico towards Utah. The expedition is important in its confirmation that the Green and "Grand" (now Colorado) Rivers joined to form the Colorado just above the Grand Canyon. The map was printed in 1864, but didn't actually get published until 1875 because of the Civil War.

Wheat's comments on its importance is not only based on its geographical significance, but also because of its documentation of the routes of various explorer's routes, including Macomb's as well as those of Gunnison, Marcy, and Father Escalante and others. The last factor in Wheat's judgments is it striking appearance, where it looks almost three dimensional. This is the result of a technique of depicting topography developed by F.W. Egloffstein, where his intent was to "give his map the appearance of a small plaster model of the country." This was achieved by applying very fine lines on the plate by use of a ruling machine (done by Samuel Sartain), which were then exposed to acid to varying degrees to achieve the desired appearance. Only a few maps where made using this difficult process and this is the finest example thereof. The map is a wonderful depiction of the main drainage areas of the American Southwest, as well as many other features such as pueblos, archaeological sites and settlements, all conveyed with a remarkable appearance that few other maps have every matched. $1,800

Keeler American West<
William J. Keeler. "National Map of the Territory of the United States from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean." Washington: W.J. Keeler, 1867. Separately issued map, mounted on original linen for folding and with original covers. 47 5/8 x 57 5/ 8. Drawn by N. du Bois. Lithograph by J.F. Gedney. Full original color. With some partial separations at folds. Else, very good condition. Martin & Martin: 47; Wheat: 1170. Denver.

One of the great maps of the American West, Keeler's monumental image shows the region poised on the eve of the huge development that was soon to follow. After the territory of the United States reached the Pacific coastline, and with the outgrowth of myriad reasons for the citizens to desire better access to the western lands-gold, land, and other tremendous opportunities-there built a tremendous demand for the construction of railroads lines to the West. Thus was set in motion a series of government surveys, resulting in an 1855 map by Lt. G.K. Warren, which proposed four possible railroad routes to the Pacific. Though the nation's attention was directed elsewhere during the Civil War, western expansion quickly reopened with a great rush of post-war settlers and speculators. Growing public interest in the region's character, geography, and railroads spurred William J. Keeler, an Indian Bureau engineer, to privately produce this excellent and highly detailed map of the entire western United States.

As Susan Schulten comments in Mapping the Nation, Keeler's map "anticipates the momentum of western developmentā€¦His map celebrated the economic potential of the highlighting mineral lands, transportation routes, and progress of the [national] survey." Carl Wheat calls it, "A complete Railroad Map, the only one published which shows the whole of the great Pacific Railroad routes and their projections and branches, together with all other railroads in the States and Territories bordering the Mississippi on both sides."

Keeler based his rendering in part on the Warren map and the Pacific railroad surveys, but he added much extra information, especially on the railroads. With access to the records of the Indian Bureau, Keeler added data on many Indian settlements and reservations, the latter identified with a color code. Besides this detail, Keeler also showed forts, exploration and travel routes, settlements, mines, and more-much of this information depicted for the first time on a general map. At the beginning of the huge western expansion of the post-Civil War period, this was the most detailed and accurate of all maps of the American West. Privately issued and sold as a separate publication, mounted on linen and folded into covers, this is a rare and most desirable cartographic document of considerable historic note. $6,800

New Mexico Territory
J.W. Abert and W.G. Peck. "Map of the Territory of New Mexico, made by order of Brig. Gen. S.W. Kearny, under the instructions from Lieut. W.H. Emory, U.S.T.E. by Lieut's J.W. Abert and W.G. Peck. U.S.T.E. 1846-47." Washington: GPO, 1847. 25 x 19 1/2. Lithograph. With folds, as issued. Very good condition. Wheat: 532. Denver.

A seminal map of New Mexico, the first map of the territory, issued in the Emory's Notes of a Military Reconnaissance. Lieutenants Abert and Peck were with the U.S. Army's Topographical Corps of Engineers and they began their survey of New Mexico in 1846, shortly after the Mexican province was captured by the army and two years before it became part of the United States. Abert and Peck had been left behind by Kearny's Army of the West during the war and they surveyed the northern "Rio del Norte" (aka Rio Grande) valley and surrounding areas. Their survey, typically of the work of the Corps, was meticulous and the map is filled with precise detail, showing towns--including Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque--, roads, pueblos, ruins and mines, as well as geographic features like topography and rivers. Locations of Indian tribes is also noted. A fine example of the foundation map for New Mexico. $950

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