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[ 19th century regional maps of the U.S. ]
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
"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 Eastern portion of Idaho." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1863. 11 1/2 x 14. Lithograph. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.
A fine of the Plains states from Philadelphia publisher S. Augustus Mitchell Jr.. It shows the territories of Kansas and Nebraska shortly after they were reorganized into their present borders (though they were still territories for a number of years yet). Their reorganization was started with the creation of the territory of Colorado in 1861. This territory was formed because of the huge population which had emigrated to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the "Pike's Peak Gold Rush." When gold was discovered at the junction of Cherry Creek and the South Platte in 1858, tens of thousands flooded to the area over the next couple of years, creating the towns of Denver City and Auraria (the two which joined together to form Denver), as well as Boulder, Golden, Central City, Breckinridge, all of which are shown on this map in the "Gold Region."
Colorado was created to a great extent from the western part of Kansas, which thus was shrunk to its current size. Nebraska also lost some land to Colorado in 1861, but it was mostly reduced that year by the organization of the lands north of 43° N as the Dakota Territory. The last change to its borders, the year this map was issued, occurred when the western part of both Dakota and Nebraska were subsumed in the new territory of Idaho. This was a period of the planning of the trans-continental railroad and Mitchell shows a number of the considered routes with dashed lines. This map was issued at a time when this region was flooded by settlers, miners and emigrants seeking new opportunities in the burgeoning American West. The eastern-most parts of Kansas and Nebraska are shown fairly well settled, and in the west are shown a few new settlements, forts, and Indian tribes. With updated maps in most atlases, Mitchell pictured this fascinating part of American history at a transitional stage. $250
"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
"Kansas and Nebraska." Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1864. Lithograph. On thin paper and folded as issues. Fragile at folds with some splitting. Denver.
A finely detailed map based on U.S. government sponsored surveys. A vital period for these two states. The public surveys are found only in the eastern half of each state. $150
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
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
"County Map of Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1870. 20 x 14 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. With old repairs at centerfold separation. Otherwise, very good condition.
This map shows the northern plains at a time when the railroads were opening up the region to new settlement. Completed in 1869, the transcontinental railroad ran across the center of the area shown here, from Omaha to the South Pass in western Wyoming. The railroads facilitated the movement of emigrants through and into this area--already begun by the emigration to Oregon, the California Gold Rush and Pike's Peak Gold Rush(noted on this map as "Gold Region"). This led to the creation of new states, such as Kansas (1861), Nebraska (1867), as well as territories such as Colorado, Dakota, Montana, and the just created Wyoming (1869).
This detailed map provides a good topographical picture of the region, with the rivers and mountains depicted, as are the locations of the plains Indian tribes which played such an important (and tragic) role in the opening of the west. The maps also well represents the development of this region, picturing towns, forts, roads and trails. Of particular interest is the depiction of the railroads, which are indicated sometimes following the early routes of explorers, also shown on the map. The Union Pacific Railroad, completed just the year before this map was published, is shown running through Nebraska to Cheyenne and then west, while the two railroads into Denver-one to Cheyenne to meet the Union Pacific and one directly east to Kansas City-both completed just the year this map was issued, are both shown. This is a fine map of the classic "Wild West" of popular lore. $185
"County Map Of Kansas, Nebraska, Dakota, and Minnesota." Chicago: Warner & Beers, 1872. 16 1/2 x 13 1/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.
An unusual map from the Warner & Beers Atlas of Whiteside Co. (IL), which contained also maps of other Illinois counties and also the H.H. Lloyd 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 market. 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. $225
"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. $175
"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. $150
"County & Township Map Of The States of Kansas and Nebraska." Philadelphia: W.M. Bradley & Bro., -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
"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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