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Maps of Western America

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Bonne Mexico
Rigobert Bonne. "Le Nouveau Mexique." Paris, 1778. 8 x 12 1/4. Engraving by Dien. Very good condition. Lowery: 545.

Rigobert Bonne was the Royal Hydrographer of France, so his primary interest was in marine charts. However, with his Royal connections and access to the cartographic documents in Paris, Bonne was able to compile maps containing some of the most up-to-date information of his time. This map of the southern part of North America is a good example of his work. It shows as far north as Santa Fe and to just below Guadalajara, also including the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. The southern coast of the United States in included to western Florida, and the river systems are included inland, especially for present-day Texas. A fine eighteenth century map of the region, with good early information of this American southwest. $325

Pages Mexico
Bernard. "Carte d'une partie de l'Amérique Séptentrionale, qui contient partie de la Nle. Espagne, et de la Louisiane." From Pierre de Pagès' Voyages Autour Du Monde. Paris, 1782. 12 3/4 x 17. Engraving by Bernard. Very good condition.

A unusual map based on a first hand trek across Texas and Mexico by a French naval officer, Pierre Marie François de Pagès. Born of noble family, Pagès made a five-year voyage around the world, which he recounted in his publication of 1782. Perhaps of the most interesting part of his trip was his horseback traverse of Texas in 1767. As shown by a line marked on this map, Pagès landed in New Orleans, traveled up the Mississippi and Red Rivers to "Nachitoches" and then set off on horseback across the "Province de los Texas." and then south through Mexico to Acapulco. Pagès account, and this map, provided the best first-hand information on this region in the late eighteenth century. The map shows many town, forts, rivers, and notes on Indian tribes. Pagès returned to France via the Pacific, wrote his account and later engaged in further expeditions (to the North and South Poles) and even was involved with the French navy in the American Revolution. $1,400

Kitchen Mexico
After Thomas Kitchin. "Mexico oder Neu Spanien zu Campens Entdekkung von America." From J.H. Campe's Entdeckung von America. Germany, ca. 1786. 8 x 12 1/2. Engraving. Outline color. Very good condition.

A nice example of Thomas Kitchen's map of Mexico, appearing in J.H. Campe's "Discovery of America," a history intended for young people that was issued in a number of editions in Germany in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The information in Mexico, including New Mexico up the Rio Grande, is quite good. Along the Gulf coast the major rivers are indicated and in "Tecas" are noted "Cenis" and "Presidio," near the latter of which the note indicates that "Hier liess sich de la Sale 1685." Also included in the map is an inset of the region around Mexico City. $450

Humboldt New Spain
Alexander de Humboldt. "Carte Generale Du Royaume De La Nouvelle Espagne." Paris,: A. de Humboldt, 1809. Two sheets joined: 39 1/4 x 27 3/8. Engraving by Barriere, script by L. Aubert pere. Hand colored. Very good condition. Cf. Martin & Martin: 23; Wheat: 272. Denver.

The 'mother map' for New Spain at the beginning of the nineteenth century, by Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt (1769-1859) was one of the greatest scientific explorers of all time. At the end of the eighteenth century, he received permission to visit and explore the Spanish territories in the Americas, a region mostly unknown in Europe at the time. Humboldt traveled from Venezuela to Mexico, recording his observations and discoveries. He settled in Mexico City for about a year, gathering all available information. As a world renowned scientist, Humboldt had Royal patronage and so access to every document in the Spanish archives in Mexico, hitherto inaccessible to Europeans. With all these resources, Humboldt was able to produce a number of excellent maps, including this one of New Spain, which contains not only today's Mexico, but all of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, and parts of surrounding states. This map contained by far the best geographic depiction of the region to the time.

This map, which Carl Wheat called a "truly magnificent cartographic achievement," was drawn by Humboldt in 1803-1804 in Mexico and then was revised and printed in 1809, appearing in Humboldt's atlas of 1811. The map was ground-breaking in its accuracy and detail: as Wheat further stated, "For the area of the American West which it included it was undoubtedly the most important and most accurate map that had yet appeared." It became the prototype rendering for the region for the next several decades and was considered by Streeter to be one of the six most important maps for a Texas collection. Interestingly, Humboldt left a copy of his map in Washington on his return to Europe, and he felt that this was the source for the copies of his mapping, by Arrowsmith and Pike, which appeared even before his map was official published. $17,500

Spanish Dominions
L. Hebert. "Spanish Dominions In North America Northern Part." From Pinkerton's Modern Atlas. London: Cadell & Davies, 1811. 20 x 27 3/4. Engraving by Neele. Original outline color. Very good condition. Denver.

A graphic, large-scale map of New Spain from about the 22nd parallel in the south to the Great Salt Lake in the north, and including the Louisiana Territory shown to just south of the Missouri River. The rendering is based on Humboldt's map of the region (cf. above), though it is narrower in focus. The topography is shown with striking hatching, emphasizing the mountains up the Rio Grande Valley to well past Santa Fe. The Louisiana Territory section documents the extensive network of rivers in this region. Detail is excellent with many lakes, rivers and numerous towns shown throughout, with the borders depicted for the Spanish intendances. Further data provided is indicated in the key to symbols that lists "Provincial Council of the Mines," mines, farms, military posts, and "Station of Muleteers." $1,800

Mathew Carey. "Mexico or New Spain." Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1814. 17 5/8 x 15 5/8. Engraving. Original outline color. Very good condition.

An intriguing American map of Mexico. Published by Mathew Carey in 1814, during the War of 1812, this map is from Carey's Atlas which represented the best American cartographic work of the period. Mexico, or "New Spain" as such included not only present-day Mexico, but El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, all subject to the Spanish Crown. The northern boundary as shown here extended well north of Santa Fe, while the eastern border is located at the Sabine River-a boundary which was to moved west by the treaty accords following the 1819 War between Spain and the United States. By 1820 the provincial government under Augustin de Iturbide had revolted against the new liberal monarchy for fear of modernization. This was the beginning of a 60-year period defined by one internal rival struggling against the other that would end only with the second election of Porfirio Diaz in 1884. The southern end of the nation similarly reacted in their own, local interests forming the Central American nations of modern times. $850

Arkansas Territory
Stephen H. Long. "Map of Arkansa and other Territories of the United States." Philadelphia: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1822. 14 1/2 x 14 1/2 (map); 16 1/2 x 20 3/4 (full sheet). Engraving by Young & Delleker. Original outline color. Very good condition. Denver.

In 1822, Henry Charles Carey and Isaac Lea published their A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas. The sheets from this atlas, which cover North America, Central America, South America and the West Indies, are comprised of an engraved map surrounded by text documenting the history, climate, population and so forth of the area depicted. The atlas is particularly known for its excellent early maps of the states and territories of the United States. The most important map in the atlas, is the "Map of Arkansa and other Territories of the United States," a seminal map of the trans-Mississippi West. This is a "mother map" of that part of the United States, consisting of the lands of the Louisiana Purchase north of the state of Louisiana.

This map was based on a manuscript map by Stephen Long drawn in 1821, the first to show the results of his important exploration of the American West from 1819-20. It appeared a year before Long's official report and the map contained therein. Long explored the region between the Missouri River and the Rockies, including the Platte, Red and Canadian Rivers, and his map is a precise statement of the results of his travels. Of particular importance was the first mention of the "Great American Desert" (that is the High Plains), called this by Long to emphasize his belief in the inhabitability of the region; this moniker greatly inhibited settlement of the west for over a generation.

This map was praised by Carl Wheat as a distinct step forward in mapping the American West. It includes an early depiction of the Arkansas Territory, extending from the Mississippi to the Spanish Territories of New Mexico, and it also is the first to show Missouri as a state, which it became as part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Long explored along the South Branch of the Platte River, shown for the first time on this map, and he depicts for the first time Long's Peak, called "Highest Peak" on this map. Members of Long's party, including Dr. Edwin James, were the first to climb Pike's Peak, which Long named "James Peak" on this map, though the name never stuck. $1,650
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Rio Grande
Maps of the American West by P. Vander Maelen. From Atlas Universel. Brussels: P. Vander Maelen, 1827. Each ca. 18 1/2 x 22 1/2. Lithographs by H. Ode. Original outline coloring. Very good condition. Denver

These maps by Vander Maelen show a large part of the American West. These finely executed and highly detailed maps are from Vander Maelen's monumental atlas of 1827, the Atlas Universel. This was one of the most remarkable world atlases ever produced, anticipating the International Map of the World and showing for the first time the entire land mass of the world on a uniform scale. This atlas was also the first to be made totally with lithography, each map precisely drawn on stone by H. Ode. The maps are blocked out in uniform rectangles, and they include an impressive amount of accurate detail. These maps have as detailed and accurate interior information of the region as was available at the time. These maps are of considerable historical note, and they have their own aesthetic interest.

Burr Mexico
David H. Burr. "The United States of Mexico." From Universal Atlas. New York: D.H. Burr, Feb. 16, 1832. 12 1/2 x 10 1/4. Engraving by Illman & Pilbrow. Full original color. Some paper waviness. Otherwise, very good condition.

Another fine map by David H. Burr, this the southwestern part of North America, along with Central America. This map shows Mexico three years before Texas broke off and just over a decade before it lost its entire northern section, becoming today's American southwest. Stephen F. Austin had received a grant to settle in Texas in 1823 and more and more Americans moved into the area until in 1830 the Mexican government forbade further emigration into Texas from the U.S. Relations between the Americans in Texas and Mexico deteriorated and in June 1832, just after this map was issued, the first fighting broke out at the Battle of Velasco. This map shows early settlements in Texas, including San Felippe de Austin, S. Antonio, la Trinity, Ft. del Altar, Espada, Lagunilla, Matagordia, Brazoria, and Nacadoches. The information in the inset map of South America ("Guatemala or the United Provinces of Central America") is also very good. $850

Oregon Territory
David H. Burr. "Oregon Territory." From A New Universal Atlas (1835). New York: Illman & Pilbrow, 1833. 10 1/2 x 12 5/8. Engraving by Illman & Pilbrow. Full original color. Very good condition. Denver.

An excellent map of the Oregon Territory at an important time in its history. The map is by David H. Burr, one of the most important American cartographers of the first part of the nineteenth century. Having studied under Simeon DeWitt, Burr produced the second state atlas issued in the United States, of New York in 1829. He was then appointed to be geographer for the U.S. Post Office and later geographer to the House of Representatives. This is his map of the Oregon Territory when under joint control of Britain and the United States. It is one of the only maps showing just this territory during that period, though the implication of the map is that this is all U.S. territory.

There had long been a debate between Britain and the United States over the border between Canada and the U.S. in the far west. In 1818, the two countries had established joint control over a large Oregon Territory, encompassing the lands west of the Rocky Mountains and north of Mexico (including present-day California). Though joint control worked for a time, American influence faded as Britain strengthened control through a series of Hudson's Bay Company bases. This caused concern in the United States, but with the opening of the Oregon Trail in 1843, Americans began to flood into the southern part of the territory, stemming the influence of Britain in that area. The dispute was finally settled by the Oregon Treaty of 1846, establishing the 49th parallel as the border. This map depicts the jointly controlled territory in 1833. Information was gathered by Burr from the Lewis & Clark expedition, Jedidiah Smith, as well as the fur trading companies. The map shows the rivers in the territory, including the Columbia, with excellent detail, though it does contain one of the non-existent "Rivers of the West," in this case the Los Mongos R, flowing from the Great Basin all the way to the Pacific. Also shown are the territories of the Indian tribes and some of the forts in the region. $1,200

John Dower. "Mexico and Guatimala." From A New General Atlas of the World. London: Henry Teesdale & Co., 1835. 13 1/4 x 16 3/8. Engraving by J. Dower. Original outline color. Excellent condition.

A fine British map showing Mexico the year before Texas broke away and a decade before it lost "Upper or New California" as well. The map shows the typical superb craftsmanship of the British map makers, with clearly engraved, copious detail throughout Mexico. Only a few rivers and mountains are indicated in what was then the United States. In the current southwestern part of the United States, then part of Mexico, the information is quite good, showing rivers, Indian tribes, and some settlements. Of note is the geographic error of a double representation of the Great Salt Lake, as well as equally non-existent rivers running from these lakes to the Pacific. A nice picture of the geographic knowledge and mistakes of the period. $575

Routes of Hunt and Stuart
"Sketch of the Routes of Hunt and Stuart." From Washington Irving's Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1836. Engraving. 9 5/8 x 17 3/4. With some light, old stains. Repaired tear at left. Professionally conserved and overall very good appearance. Denver.

John Jacob Astor was involved in the American fur trade, dominated by the British and Canadians, from the late eighteenth century. He decided that the Americans should have a cut of the lucrative trade in what would become the Pacific Northwest of the United Staes and so in 1810 he created the Pacific Fur Company. He sent out Captain Jonathan Thorn by ship, who built Fort Astoria in March 1811 on the Columbia River. At the same time he sent out a party under Wilson Price Hunt to blaze a trail across the continent to the Pacific Northwest. They arrived at Fort Astoria in February 1812. This was the first transcontinental trip since Lewis & Clark, and a return party, led by Robert Stuart, was sent out in June, discovering on the way the South Pass. Years later, Astor asked author Washington Irving to write a history of the fur trading company, which was published as Astoria in 1836.

This volume included this fold-out map which Carl Wheat calls "an important milestone in western mapping," and "for what it purports to be it is an excellent map." The map depicts the region from the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi to the Pacific Northwest. It shows the routes of both Hunt's outward and Stuart's return expeditions, including Stuart's route through the South Pass just to the south of the Wind River Mountains. The river courses and some idea of the topography is indicated, though rather confused. The Great Salt Lake, explored by Benjamin Bonneville-whose adventures were written about by Irving-is shown, as are other somewhat hypothetical lakes in the Great Basin region. Overall a significant map of western exploration and discovery. $325

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