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Antique Maps of Nebraska

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[ 19th century regional maps of the U.S. ]


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

Kansas and Nebraska
"Nebraska and Kanzas." New York: J.H. Colton & Co., 1856. 12 3/4 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. With decorative border. Denver.

One of the first maps to focus on the northern plains east of the Rockies. New settlers were moving into the northern plains in the early 1850s, and many emigrants passed through the region on their way further west along the Oregon Trail. This area had been part of the original Missouri Territory and with the increasing population, there was a need to break it into smaller units. Thus, in 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by Congress, setting up the two territories as they are shown in this map of but two years later. Kansas Territory is shown with its present north and south borders, but its western border extending into present-day Colorado. The Nebraska Territory is shown reaching all the way north to Canada and as far west as the "heights" of the Rocky Mountains. The territories retained this shape from 1855 until 1861 and few were made just of these territories in this configuration.

As this region was of considerable interest at the time, Colton included an impressive amount of information. Rivers, extremely important for emigrants and settlers alike, are shown with good detail, including the upper Missouri feeders, the two branches of the Platte, and the Arkansas River. Forts, such as Laramie, Atkinson, Clark, Union and many others, are clearly delineated, and Indian tribes are named and located throughout. Of particular interest are the indications of early exploration routes and the main passes over the Rocky Mountains, including the famous South Pass. An important map of an important region in the western expansion of the United States just prior to the Civil War. $375

Kansas and Nebraska territories
"Nebraska and Kanzas." New York: J.H. Colton & Co., ca. 1857. 12 3/4 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

A slightly later edition of Colton's fine map of the Nebraska and Kansas territories. Issued without the decorative border, this map does add an indication of the Oregon Trail, passing over the South Pass. $350

"Kansas and Nebraska." New York: J.H. Colton, 1863. 25 1/4 x 16 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand-coloring. Narrow margins around decorative border, with some chipping just into border. Browning on back at one side. One tiny spot in center. Otherwise, very good condition.

A map of the eastern parts of Nebraska and Kansas issued shortly after they took on their present-day shapes. The territories of Nebraska and Kansas were created in 1854 out of the old Missouri Territory. In 1861, Kansas attained statehood, while the Nebraska Territory lost two-thirds of its land to the newly created Dakota Territory, though it still extended to the Rocky Mountains. The western parts, beyond the 104th meridian, were detached from Nebraska in 1863, thus attaining its present configuration. This map, issued about this time, shows just the eastern parts of Nebraska and Kansas, as there was almost no development in the western parts. Detail is very good of this area, with counties, towns, rivers, Indian reservations, roads and forts clearly indicated and named. Of particular interest are the depictions of the old Santa Fe trail and the "Pony Express and U.S. Mail Route," both heading west off the map. $175

W.H. Gamble. "Map of Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. Showing also The Southern portion of Dacotah." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1862. 11 1/2 x 14. Lithograph. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

This fine of the plains states is from the 1862 issue of S. Augustus Mitchell Jr.'s important atlas. The map shows the territories of Kansas and Nebraska shortly after they were reorganized into smaller borders, initially prompted by the creation of the territory of Colorado the year before this map was issued. Colorado was created in part from the western part of Kansas-which thus took on its current borders-and the southwestern part of Nebraska, which was further reduced in 1862 to that area south of the 43rd parallel. Then in 1862, Nebraska was made even smaller-to its current borders-by the loss of all the lands west of the 104th longitude line. That area was then "Attached to Dacotah," that territory covering almost all the northern plains. In this map, the eastern parts of Kansas and Nebraska are shown fairly well settled, while to the west little settlement is evident, though information is given of topography and the location of Indian tribes. Colorado does show the "Gold Regions" and the early mining towns, including Auraria, Golden, and Central City. As the west was beginning to develop, the need for a trans-continental railroad became evident and Mitchell shows a number of the considered routes with dashed lines. One of these was quite close to the route which the railroad did take when completed about a decade later. This is a rare version of Mitchell's classic map of the "Wild West." $250

Northern Plains 1863
"Johnson's Nebraska, Dakota, Colorado, Idaho & Kansas." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1863. 12 3/4 x 15 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand coloring. Very good condition.

A detailed map of northern plain states (present-day Kansas, Nebraska,Colorado, the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana). This map shows a configuration of this region which lasted only for one year. In 1863,the eastern part of Washington Territory and the western part of Dakota Territory were broken off to form the Idaho Territory, encompassing what today is Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The next year the eastern part of this huge Idaho Territory, that shown here, was broken off to create the Montana Territory, with the southeastern part temporarily going back into the Dakota Territory. The detail in this map is most impressive, showing rivers, towns, forts, Indian tribes, and the early trails which criss-crossed this region. This map was issued during the Pike's Peak gold rush, so the four main routes to "Auroria" are shown, the distances of the northern and southern-most routes noted on the map. The gold rush towns of Auraria, Denver, and Montana are all shown, though the first two had by then merged into Denver. $250

"Map Showing the progress of the Public Surveys in Kansas and Nebraska." Washington: General Land Office, 1864. 23 1/2 x 28 1/2. Lithograph. With some staining, especially along folds at left. Denver.

A map showing the extent to which the General Land Office had mapped in Kansas and Nebraska in 1863, for inclusion in the report by the Surveyor General to Congress. The GLO was beginning to focus on mapping the mid-west even during the Civil War years, and the grid reaches about half-way across these states. Rivers, towns, and forts are all shown, as are Indian reservations. $125

A.J. Johnson. "Johnson's Iowa and Nebraska." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1864. 17 x 22 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Short repaired tear into bottom. Otherwise, very good condition.

Another Johnson's map of Iowa and Nebraska, but three years later. The differences are minor, but interesting. First, Johnson makes the map a double page size and increases the part of Nebraska shown to twice the size as on the earlier map. There is little information given to this newly revealed part of the territory, except that Johnson shows the proposed route of the Pacific railroad, but the inclusion of the extended part of Nebraska clearly indicates the publisher expected this now blank part of the map to be rapidly filled in. $165

"Map Showing the progress of the Public surveys of Kansas and Nebraska . 1866." Washington: General Land Office, 1866. 23 5/8 x 33. Lithograph by Bowen & Co. Original outline color. Some typical slight wear and light browning at folds. Very good condition. Wheat: 1151. Denver.

The U.S. General Land Office (GLO) was established in 1812 with responsibility to survey and control the dispersal of public lands. All public land was required to be surveyed prior to settlement, and the first director of the GLO, Thomas Hutchins, set up a systematic process of rectangular survey for the public lands and launched the great national project to survey and map the public domain in the entire country, a procedure which got under way in the famous "seven ranges" of southeast Ohio. Each surveyor was to record not only geography, but also features of the landscape with economic import, such as roads, Indian trails, existing settlements, Indian lands, mineral deposits, and of particular interest, railroads and their rights of way. Of note is that unlike most surveys of the time, the surveyors were instructed not to apply new names to the landscape, but to use "the received names of all rivers, creeks, lakes, swamps, prairies, hills, mountains and other natural objects."

By mid-century the GLO had completed most of the surveys for the lands between the Appalachians and the Mississippi, and so focused most of its attention to the American west for the rest of the century. The GLO published mostly state maps, which were issued in annual reports, bound into state atlases, and in a few atlases that combined all the current maps in progress. These maps produced by the GLO are the most accurate and detailed maps of the U.S., based on rigorous and comprehensive surveys not hindered by commercial concerns. These maps proved very useful to private American mapmakers, and they were often the basis for state and county maps in the second part of the nineteenth century. This 1866 map shows Kansas and Nebraska five years after the former was achieved statehood and the latter was reduced to close to its present borders. The map contains lots of interesting information, especially on minerals and, as noted by Wheat, railroads in this region then undergoing considerable growth. $650

Colton: Plains States
"Colton's Map of Kansas, Nebraska, Dakota & Indian Territory." New York: G.W. and C.B. Colton & Co., 1866. 26 1/2 x 16 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Edge of decorative border trimmed at left, as issued. Very good condition.

One of the best maps of the American Plains from the post-Civil War period. This region saw a large influx of settlers and travelers in this period and it went through a number of political changes, so such a map would have had great interest. The territories of Nebraska and Kansas were created in 1854 out of the old Missouri Territory. In 1861, Kansas attained statehood, while the Nebraska Territory (which didn't become a state until a year after this map was issued) lost two-thirds of its land to the newly created Dakota Territory, and the territory of Colorado (shown here, though not mentioned in the title) was also created. In this second state of the map, a border separating Dakota from Wyoming (the latter not named) is shown; Wyoming was created out of the western part of Dakota about the time this version was issued. The western parts of the states lining the Mississippi River are shown with considerable development. The only similar areas of settlement and county creation for the rest of the map occur in eastern Texas and the eastern parts of Kansas and Nebraska. The western parts of that state and territory, along with Dakota and Colorado are depicted as relatively undeveloped.

The map contains much information on rivers, lakes, and topography, but it is for the information on human activity on the plains which makes this map of such great interest. This was issued at a time of regular conflict between Euro-Americans and Native Americans, and the locations of Indian tribes are noted throughout, including three large reservations in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The reason for the conflict was the encroachment of whites into the area, shown on this map with flags to indicate forts, the routes of explorers, emigration & trade routes-such as the Santa Fe and Oregon trails, proposed wagon roads and railroads, as well as the northern and southern routes to Denver, which were clogged in the 1860s with Pike's Peak gold-rushers. A terrific map of this frontier land after the Civil War. $275

A.J. Johnson. "Johnson's Iowa and Nebraska." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1870. 17 x 22 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Separations along center fold at edges. Otherwise, very good condition.

Though the copyright date is still listed as 1864, this map clearly shows greater settlement and westward movement than the edition published in that year. By 1870, settlement had extended west along the Missouri border to towns like Council Bluffs and Omaha. In the northwestern counties, around Iowa's lake region, are still sparsely populated. $150

Northern Plains
"County Map Of Kansas, Nebraska, Dakota, and Minnesota." From Atlas of Whiteside Co.. Chicago: Warner & Beers, 1872. 16 1/2 x 13 1/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

An unusual map from the Warner & Beers Atlas of Whiteside Co. (IL), which contained besides information on Whiteside County, maps of other Illinois counties and also maps from H.H. Lloyd's Atlas of the United States. Details in Kansas and Nebraska are quite good, showing the extensive development by the early 1870s reaching west along the rail lines, which are clearly marked. Minnesota is also shown as well settled, but Dakota--not yet divided into North and South--is relatively sparsely populated except in the south eastern part. Of interest is the beginning of the Northern Pacific Railroad, built across Minnesota and as far as Bismark, Dakota. $185

Mitchell Kansas and Nebraska
"County & Township Map of the States of Kansas and Nebraska." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1874. 14 1/8 x 21 3/8. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A Mitchell map of the two states as they were configured shortly after statehood and the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Kansas, through which the Pacific Railroad ran, was highly developed at this point, as can been clearly seen here. The Pacific R.R. is shown, as is the Atchison, Topeka & Sante Fe R.R., and a few others in the state, bringing considerable growth of towns, roads, and so forth. Nebraska shows the Union Pacific Railroad passing through, but development is considerably less, limited mostly to the east and south of the Platte River. An excellent early picture of these two plains states. $150

Gray Nebraska
"Nebraska." Philadelphia: O.W. Gray, 1875. 11 3/4 x 15.. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

An early map showing just Nebraska by itself, issued within a decade of statehood (1867). It was published by the Philadelphia firm of O.W. Gray which began its publishing around mid-century and issued regional and U.S. atlases up to the 1880s, first as O.W. Gray and then O.W. Gray & Son. This map is typical of their work, presenting the latest information available with clear and precise detail. Nebraska was well settled in the eastern parts and beginning to be developed along the Platte River, and these areas are shown broken into counties with towns, roads and railroads clearly depicted. The northwest corner of the state, the home of many Indian tribes, is left blank except for rivers. A nice picture of the state entering the last quarter of the nineteenth century. $160

"County & Township Map Of The States of Kansas and Nebraska." Philadelphia: W.M. Bradley & Bro., 1886. 14 x 21 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Old separation along centerfold, expertly repaired. Very good condition.

A neatly detailed map from the Philadelphia publishing firm of William M. Bradley & Bros. While Philadelphia was no longer the main center of cartographic publishing in North America by the late nineteenth century, many fine maps were still produced there, as is evidenced by this map. The burgeoning states are shown with settlement spreading west from the Missouri River, trails, roads and railroads providing the transportation nexus by which this development progressed. The southwestern corner of Kansas and northwestern corner of Nebraska are still relatively underdeveloped, but this frontier in the states is clearly dwindling. $125

Arbuckle Nebraska
"Nebraska." 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

"County & Township Map Of The States of Kansas and Nebraska." Philadelphia: W.M. Bradley & Bro., [1887]-1891. 14 x 21 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A slightly later edition of the Bradley map above. The map is almost the same, except for showing new development in the two least developed parts, the southwestern corner of Kansas and northwestern corner of Nebraska. This is primarily reflected in the creation of new counties, but there is also new survey information such as the extension of rivers. $150

"Nebraska." Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., ca. 1890. 19 x 26. Lithograph. Printed with color. Very good condition.

An early map from the Rand, McNally & Co. firm of Chicago. Impressive detail and showing much of the western part of the state that was still relatively undeveloped. $150

Rand McNally 1909
"Nebraska." From Rand-McNally Indexed Atlas. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1909. 19 x 26. Cereograph. Printed with color. Very good condition. Denver.

This large map is filled with detail, including counties, towns, railroads, roads, and much else. The "relative importance" of the towns is indicated by the size of the typeface. The map focuses on the railroads which by 1909 criss-crossed the state, the different lines indicated with red numbers referenced in a key at the lower left. $110


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