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Antique Maps of the United States
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Mitchell US 1860
J.H. Young. "No. 5. Map of the United Sates." From Mitchell's School and Family Geography. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, [1856]-1860. 10 5/8 x 17. Engraving by E. Yeager. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

A fine map of the United States issued about 1860 in Mitchell's influential School and Family Geography. The map is filled with myriad topographical details, including rivers, towns, lakes, and mountains. Political information includes indications of states and territories, highlighted in contrasting shades. Also shown are early roads and railroads. It is for the American West that the map is of particular interest. Issued a few years after the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the map shows those two territories with considerable information of rivers, newly established towns, forts, and Indian tribes with impressive detail. In the northwest, Oregon was created as a state in 1859, and what was the eastern part of the old Oregon Territory was given to Washington Territory, shown with the unusual shape it retained for only a few years.

Of particular note is the 'horizontal' Arizona Territory, running east to west below New Mexico. After the Gadsden Purchase, in the late 1850s, there was demand for the breaking off an Arizona territory from New Mexico. This culminated in a provisional constitution by the unofficial 1860 Constitutional Convention held in Tucson in 1860 that the southern part of the New Mexico Territory be made into Arizona Territory. In 1861 this self-proclaimed territory ceded from the Union, though in June the following year Union forces took back the territory from the Confederates. Mitchell shows Arizona as a separate entity, though it was not officially a U.S. territory until 1863, when it was created with a north-south border between it and New Mexico, instead of the east-west border shown here. $325

Tunis Rail Road Map of the US
W.E. Tunis. "Tunis' New Colored Rail Road Map of the United States & Canadas." Lithograph in two colors. Buffalo, N.Y.: W.E. Tunis, 1859. 15 3/4 x 20 1/2 (neat lines). Full margins.

This fascinating map shows the development of railroads on the eve of the American Civil War. It was printed to be included in Tunis' International Rail Road Guide of 1859 and promised within the title that it would be "revised and corrected every month." The format seems designed for mass production, but searches for more copies lead to the suspicion that few exist.

The format has completed rail lines in solid red and planned lines as broken lines. The difference between lines in the north and south are dramatic. Among the many lines in the north the farthest reaching west extends to Jefferson City and St. Joseph, Missouri with the next farthest extending into Iowa at Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Fairfield. Railroads in the Southern States stop at the Mississippi River gong only to Memphis and Vicksburg. The longest two railroads are the Illinois Central and the Baltimore and Ohio. Much more to study is in this map. $625

Smith United States
"United States." From Smith's New Geography, by Roswell C. Smith. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1860. 9 7/8 x 12. Lithograph. Original hand color. Slight smudging in margins. Very good condition. Denver.

A terrific map of the United States from a fascinating period in the development of the America West. This map shows the country on the eve of the Civil War, when the western lands were rapidly being settled, new territories created and proposed, and a trans-continental railroad planned-all things shown graphically on this map.

The year before this map was produced, Oregon was admitted as a state, the eastern part of the old Oregon Territory added to the Washington Territory. This map does show the new state, but incorrectly shows the eastern part of the old territory as a separate territory. That same year, the Comstock Lode rush and Pike's Peak gold rush led to a huge influx into the western parts of the Utah and Kansas Territories, the new settlers both demanding creation of new territories so they could control their own affairs. Those in western Utah were rewarded in 1861 with the creation of Nevada--shown on this map as a proposed territory. Those in western Kansas were also rewarded with a new territory, Colorado, that same year. However, in 1859, the proposal from those in Denver City was for a territory of Jefferson--shown on this map--but with the secession of the Southern states in 1861, the name of a Southern figure was thought inappropriate.

The final proposed territory on this map is Arizona, but positioned across the southern part of the old New Mexico Territory. This was a proposal sent to Congress, which refused to act on it. In 1861, the "Arizonians" decided that they would, therefore, they voted to secede and join the Confederacy. This ultimately unsuccessful attempt at creating a new territory was trumped two years later when Congress did create the Arizona territory, but with a north-south, rather than east-west border with New Mexico.

There is much other fascinating information, of mountain ranges, rivers, Indian tribes, and forts, but of particular interest are all the proposed routes for the trans-continental railroad, from one just south of the Canadian border to one running just north of Mexico. It was one in the central region--shown here--which won out and which was completed about a decade later. $325

Theodor Ettling. "United States of North America (Eastern & Central)." London: Weekly Dispatch, ca. 1860. 38 x 35 1/2. Lithograph transfer from engraving by T. Ettling. Printed by Day & Son. Original outline color. Dissected into 24 sections and mounted on linen. Very good condition.

A British separately issued map of the United States up to the Rockies by Theodor Ettling. Ettling was a Dutch draughtsman, engraver and lithographer who worked first in Amsterdam, later moving to London where he produced maps for some of the British papers of the mid-nineteenth century. This map was published by the Weekly Dispatch, which issued an atlas in 1858 with maps by Ettling. Ettling seems to have made quite a study of North America, issuing a number of fine examples such as this large folding map. Detail is copious and precisely delineated in a typically neat British style. Roads, towns, rivers, lakes, and topographically are all accurately and clearly rendered. The map shows the United States as it was situated at the beginning of the Civil War, and its depiction of the trans-Mississippi region is particularly interesting. A large Kansas Territory and very large Nebraska Territory run up to the Rocky Mountains, with New Mexico, a tiny bit of Arizona, Utah, and Idaho shown at the western edge of the map. The detail in this region is also of considerable interest, with proposed railroad routes and Indian tribes indicated throughout. Besides its historic interest, this rare map is also decoratively very attractive, with the soft pastel outline color and hatchured topography lending it a nice visual appeal. $950

Johnson United States Military Map
"Johnson's New Military Map of the United States showing the Forts, Military Posts &c. With Enlarged Plans of Southern Harbors From Authentic Data Obtained at the War Department Washington." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1861. 17 1/2 x 23 3/4. Lithograph. Full original hand-color. Slight separation at bottom center fold, expertly repaired. Light stains in bottom margin. Else, very good condition.

With the start of the Civil War, the military situation in the United States was, naturally, of great interest to the readers of Johnson's atlas, so the firm of Johnson & Ward added this "New Military Map." The focus is on the situation of all the U.S. forts and posts throughout the country, including those in the South. As an important element in the war was the access to maritime trade, with the Union blockade of Southern ports, the firm also put in nine inset maps of various southern harbors, running from Baltimore to New Orleans.

The political division of the United States is also of interest in this map. Up to 1860, the increased population of settlers in the trans-Mississippi west created considerable pressure to create new territories there, but the debate over whether these would be free or slave territories prevented Congress from acting. As soon as the Southern Congressmen left, when their states seceded, Northern Congressmen could pass what they wanted and three new territories were created in 1861. These new territories, Colorado, Nevada and Dakota, are all shown here. However, also shown is a territory not yet created and certainly not created as it is shown here, viz. Arizona.

The settlers in the southern part of New Mexico had been trying since the late 1850s to create a territory of Arizona out of the southern part of that territory, but the fact that this would be a southern leaning, slave territory prevented this from happening. When the Confederacy was created, those settlers decided they didn't want to wait, so they voted themselves as a Confederate Territory. The U.S. Congress did eventually, in 1863, create an Arizona Territory, but running north-south, to the west of New Mexico, so it would not be a "southern," slave territory. The Johnson & Ward firm believed that the Arizona Territory was going to be created as originally proposed, and so that is what they show here, making this map both erroneous and particularly interesting. $350

Colton US 1861
"Colton's United States shewing the Military Stations Forts &c. . . ." New York: J.H. Colton, 1861. 14 1/4 x 16. Lithograph by G.P. Putnam. Hand color. Excellent condition.

Fine details are shown east of "Dakota," Colorado and Texas. Emphasis is devoted to Pony Express, railroads and roads. Minute details throughout. A fine printed map. $450

Mitchell US 1861
"Map of the United States, and Territories. Together with Canada &c." From Mitchell's New General Atlas. Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1861. 13 1/2 x 21 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

A map of the United States at the beginning of the Civil War, a most fascinating time for the political shape of the country's states and territories. As the trans-Mississippi region developed in the 1850s, there was a call the breaking up of the very large territories from the beginning of the decade into smaller units. However, every newly created territory had an impact on the power struggle in Congress over the issue of slavery, so between 1854, with its Kansas-Nebraska Act, and 1860, no new territories were created. When the southerners succeeded in 1860 and 1861, northerners in Congress were able to act and within months, three new territories were created, all shown on this map. In the upper plains, a very large Dakota Territory was created out of the northern part of Nebraska, which was cut off at the 43rd parallel. Because of the demand for local government both in the Pike's Peak and Comstock gold rushes, the new territories of Utah and Colorado were created, both taking land from the large Utah Territory, and the latter also taking from the western part of Kansas.

Another interesting feature of this map is the depiction of the never-existing horizontal Arizona territory. One of the groups clambering for a new territory were the settlers in the southern part of New Mexico. They petitioned Congress to create an Arizona Territory from the lands south of the 34th parallel. However, the fact that this would be a southern leaning, slave territory prevented this from happening. When the Confederacy was created, those settlers decided they didn't want to wait, so they voted themselves as a Confederate Territory. The U.S. Congress did eventually, in 1863, create an Arizona Territory, but running north-south, to the west of New Mexico, so it would not be a "southern," slave territory. However, when preparing this map, Mitchell thought the horizontal territory would be created, so he jumped the gun-incorrectly it turned out-in showing this. There are many other features of interest, including the locations of forts, trails, and the Pony Express route. $325

Desilver 1864 US
J.H. Young. "A New Map of the United States of America." Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1864. Separately issued folding map, with original cloth booklet (detached). 15 3/4 x 25 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Some soft creases and separations at folds, but overall very good condition. Denver.

A pocket map by Philadelphia mapmaker, Charles Desilver, issued near the end of the Civil War. Though copyrighted in 1860, the map includes the Idaho, Montana and Arizona territories, indicating it was issued in 1864, while the eastern border of Nevada at the 115th parallel and the listing of the "Confederate States," indicating that it was issued early in the year. The map is very detailed, showing topography, lakes, rivers, roads and railroads. Also indicated are explorer routes, the Oregon and Santa Fe trails, and the different proposed routes for the "Great Pacific Railroad," as explained in a note at the bottom. The current political situation is shown, with what would become Wyoming attached to the Dakota Territory. Also shown are Indian tribe locations and the "Gold Regions" in Colorado. Of note is the listing of the population of the states and territories as determined in the 1860 census, as well as a comparison listing of the aggregate population and area of the Union and Confederate states. Advertisements for Desilver's works are pasted on the inside of the original cloth cover. Issued just as the war was ending and the great period of western expansion was about to begin, this is a rare and wonderful snapshot of the country at this turning point in its history. $875

Drioux and Leroy US
M.M. Drioux & Charles Leroy. "Carte Physique et Politique des États-Unis Canada et Partie du Mexique." Paris: Eugene Belin, ca. 1861-64. From Atlas Universel et Classique. 11 1/2 x 16 1/2. Engraving by Charpentier. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A fascinating map of the United States the presents a distorted attempt by French mapmakers Drioux and Leroy to keep up with the changes to the political landscape of the county between 1861 and 1864. This was a period in which new territories and states were proposed and created in a manner hard enough for an American cartographer to keep up with, but impossible for those across the Atlantic, though Drioux & Leroy did try.

In 1861, three new territories were created, Colorado, Nevada and Dakota, and each is here depicted. Interestingly, the only settlements shown in Colorado are St. Vrain's trading post, Forts Pike, Massachusetts, and Bents, Auraria and Fontaine City. Also that year, the settlers in the southern part of New Mexico tried to form a new territory, Arizona, lying south of the 34th parallel. When Arizona did come in as a territory in 1863, it came in out of the western part of New Mexico, but it is shown here in the incorrect form. In 1863, Idaho was created out of the western part of Dakota, and then a year later the northeastern part of Idaho became Montana. Both of these new territories are depicted, and labeled "Etat projet", but here Montana is made out of the southern part of Idaho. A final political oddity is the appearance of West Virginia, created in 1862, labeled "Virginie Oc. ou Kanawaha," the latter being a name proposed at one time for the state.

Besides these interesting political divisions, the map is a lovely cartographic statement. The pastel shades highlight the states and territories and topographical information is somewhat sparse, but nicely drawn. Rivers are shown and towns and forts indicated throughout. Locations of Indian tribes are also given. $250

Colton United States 1866
"The United States of America." New York: G.W. & C.B. Colton, [1856]-1866. 15 1/2 x 26. Lithograph. Original hand color. Crease next to centerfold and some light spotting. Overall, very good condition.

Another Colton map, this of the United States in 1866. Just two years before this map was issued, Montana Territory was created out of Idaho Territory, and that is the configuration shown here, with just to the south the territory that would later become Wyoming shown as part of the Dakota Territory. This map was issued just at the beginning of the dramatic post-Civil War development of the American west and it presents detail of this region that is fascinating. Rivers and lakes and some topography are shown, but it is the forts, mines, and towns which are of particular interest. Also shown are the roads and trails that had been and continued to be traveled by those settling or crossing the American west. For instance, the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the Pony Express routes are all clearly documented, as are some of the early explorer's routes. A fine snap shot image of the United States just after the Civil War from one of the top American map publishing firms of the mid-nineteenth century. $325

General Land Office Maps of the US

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 half of the century.

Beginning in 1866, the GLO began a series of maps of the entire United States which reflected the sum of their mapping of the country. Each year they updated the maps to show new political and social developments. One of the most interesting features was the inclusion of the trails crossing the western U.S., but also the railroad lines, both proposed and existing. Also of note are the indications of mines for gold, silver, copper, etc.


"Map Of The United States, and Territories. Together With Canada &c." Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1867. Lithograph. Original hand color. 13 1/4 x 21 1/4. Very good condition. Denver.

This is a classic example of a map from one of the S.Augustus Mitchell atlases. It depicts the political divisions of the country just about the time that the Wyoming Territory was created (1869). This territory was created out of the southwestern part of the Dakota Territory and this map names it and roughly indicates its proposed borders with a dotted line. Detail in the map is accurate, clear and copious. The eastern part of the country is filled with railroads, roads, towns, and so forth, and the trans-Mississippi west also contains an impressive amount of information on forts, settlements, rivers, some mountains, and Indian territories. Of particular note are the depictions of the "Overland Mail Route" and the proposed railroad routes. $275

"Gray's Atlas Map of the United States of America. 1873." Philadelphia: O.W. Gray, 1873. 16 3/4 x 27 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A map of the United States issued in 1873 at a period when the completion of the transcontinental railroad and gold rushes in California and Colorado led to an upswing in the speed of development of the trans-Mississippi west. While the railroads in the west cannot compare to the web of rail lines in the east, the growth shown on this map, compared to earlier depictions of the United States, is graphic evidence of the western boom. The political formation in the west remained static after the addition of the Wyoming Territory in 1869, but each year was welcomed with many new miles of rail line, new settlements, and a better understanding of the topography of the region. $225

Gray US 1873
"United States of America." Philadelphia: O.W. Gray, 1873. 15 5/8 x 26 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

Another Gray map of the United States, with very good information on the railroads across the country, particularly in the American West. $175

Rufus Blanchard. "Historical Map of the United States Showing Early Spanish, French & English Discoveries and Explorations Also Forts, Towns & Battle Fields of Historical Interest." Chicago; R. Blanchard, 1876. 57 1/4 x 54. Lithograph. Original hand color. Mounted onto linen and folded into 10 x 13 1/2 sections. With original leather covers. With separations at folds, but otherwise, very good condition.

A visually striking historical map of the United States issued in 1876 in celebration of the American Centennial. The map, with depicts the U.S. from the Mississippi to the Atlantic, illustrates the spheres of colonial power, with notes on the earliest discoveries, settlements, forts, battles and so forth. Also included are several inset maps, some copies of original antique maps, and one showing the United States at the beginning, after the Treaty of Paris in 1783, and one showing the United States in 1826, after a half century of growth. Historical text appears on the front of the map, and a series of panels, giving a chronological account of the history of the U.S., are mounted on the bottom verso. The map was designed to fold into covers and these panels can be read when it is first opened. The map also has two ribbons in the top corners, intended to be used to hang the map for presentation, presumably in a school room. This is a most interesting and quite handsome map from the end of our nation's first century. $750

"Map Of The United States, and Territories. Together With Canada &c." Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1876. Lithograph. Original hand color. 13 1/4 x 21 1/4. Very good condition.

A later edition of the S.A. Mitchell map of the United States, issued during the country's Centennial year. Quite changed from the map of the previous decade (above) and with more topographical features than the Gray map of three years before. $225

1880 US
"Map Of The United States, and Territories. Together With Canada &c." From Mitchell's New General Atlas. Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1880. Lithograph. Original hand color. 13 1/4 x 21 1/4. Very good condition. Denver.

Another updated Mitchell map of the United States. It is of particular interest how careful Mitchell was to update the railroads, showing the increase in lines in the fourth years since the previous edition (cf. above), especially in Colorado (because of the silver boom there). Also of interest is that Mitchell dropped the proposed route for the Northern Pacific Railroad, showing instead only the track by then built, reaching as far as Bismarck. $225

"Railroad Map of the United States." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1880. 14 x 22 1/2. Lithograph. Printed red lines. Very good condition. Denver.

A fascinating map showing the main transportation routes of the United States in 1880. As the title states, the maps shows: "the Through Lines of Communication From the Atlantic to the Pacific. Together with the various Steamship Lines along the seaboard." While most of the railroads are east of the 100th degree line, the western railroads are impressive in their scope. The map itself shows the state borders, rivers, and towns and forts throughout the country. A classic US transportation map from just after the Centennial. $185

For the pair, $350

G.W. & C.B. Colton. "Map Showing the Line of the Norfolk and Western and Shenandoah Valley Railroads and the Connection with the Virginia, Tennessee & Georgia Air Line." New York: G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co., 1881. 19 x 25 1/2. Lithograph. Original highlight color. Excellent condition. Folded into First Annual Report of the President and Directors of the Norfolk & Western Railroad Company. Philadelphia, 1882. Octavo. Paper covers. 51 pp. Excellent condition.

A map of the railroad lines in the American southeast produced by one of the most important map publishers of the second half of the nineteenth century, the Colton firm out of New York. This firm, which went through a number of different manifestations, issued both atlas maps and attractive folding maps such as this one. This map was issued to accompany the first annual report, for 1881, of the Norfolk & Western Railroad Company. The map is folded into the back of the pamphlet, and its copious detail of the railroad systems in the American southeast would have provided excellent illumination for the annual report. Detail is given of rivers and towns from Massachusetts to Iowa and from Florida to Louisiana. All the myriad railroads in this region are also shown, which those of the "Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia Air Line" highlighted in color. This railroad system was comprised of the Norfolk and Western, Shenandoah Valley, East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia railroad systems. Ship connections from these lines to Baltimore, New York and Boston are also indicated. Scarce and of considerable historic note, this is a fine document of the American southeast from about a century ago. $475

John Bartholomew. "General Map of the United States of America." Philadelphia, T. Ellwood Zell, 1882. 11 3/8 x 16 3/8. Cerograph. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

An excellent, detailed map of the United States showing the nation's political configuration in the 1880s by John Bartholomew. This map attractively portrays the geographic, political and topographical features of the United States in a clear, accurate and appealing way. Of particular note on this map are the numerous railroads, both completed and proposed, crisscrossing the country from coast to coast. The lower 48 states had mostly assumed their current shape and borders by this point, with the exceptions of the Dakotas and Oklahoma. This map shows a large "Lincoln" Territory covering all of present day North Dakota and a good portion of present day South Dakota. This map is one of the few to show Lincoln as a territory, which was never actually created! The territory had been proposed but its creation by Congress was never completed. This "jumping the gun" by publishers was not unusual, as fierce competition often spurred the companies to try and be the first to show new developments. A fine map of the United States from the late-nineteenth century. $275

"Map of the United States." Buffalo: Matthews Northrup Co., ca. 1890. 12 x 19 3/4. Cereograph. Full color. Pocket folding map with original, printed cover. Some wear to corner of cover, but overall fine condition.

A nice, unusual example of a "vest-pocket" folding map from around 1890. Issued in Buffalo New York by the Matthews Northrup Co. On the back of the cover they advertise their "Vest-Pocket Maps" which are "Handsomer - handier - BETTER than any 50-cent maps published. The back of the map includes a description of the history and politics of the U.S., along with a table of population. The map itself has considerable detail, including railroads, towns, and much else. $95

U.S. Geological Survey. "United States Contour Map." Prepared for the U.S. Geological Service, John Wesley Powell, Director. Compiled by Henry Gannett. Washington: Edition of Dec. 1896, reprinted March, 1902. Engraving. 17 1/4 x 28 (neat lines) plus full margins. Paper old and brittle. Excellent condition.

The base map was the most simple but essential map produced by the United States government in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. Relatively few cities and towns are on this map by design; however, the profuse detail on waterways, printed in blue, is amazing. Using contour lines on such a large area necessitated simple but easy to follow elevations. Oklahoma is the last of the lower forty-eight states to be poised to join the union. $175

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