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Auction 13: A Few Good Maps & Manuscripts

Lot 1

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The Mother Map of the Treaty Map Sequence

1. [TREATY MAP]. [POCKET MAP]. TANNER, H[enry] S[chenck]. A Map of the United States of Mexico, as Organized and Defined by the Several Acts of the Congress of that Republic. Constructed from a Great Variety of Printed and Manuscript Documents by H. S. Tanner 1826. Below neatline at left: Published by H. S. Tanner, No. 177 Chesnut [sic] St. Philadelphia. Below neatline at right: Entered According to Act of Congress, the 10th. day of June, 1825, by H. S. Tanner of the State of Pennsylvania. Two insets at lower left: (1) Table of Distances; and (2) Map of the Roads &c from Vera Cruz & Alvarado to Mexico. Inset at right margin: Statistical Table. Pocket map, folded into original 16mo red roan covers, stamped in gold and gilt-lettered on front cover: MEXICO (covers present but detached). Engraved map with original outline coloring. 57.3 x 71.1 cm (22-5/8 x 28 inches). Pocket covers separated at spine, darkening and wear along edges. Browning and a few splits and small voids (no major losses) along old folds. Backed with Japanese tissue. Thomas W. Streeter’s copy, with his pencil notes inside pocket folder (Cadmus—E.E. 1939...). Contemporary ink initials WEM(?) (needs research) inside front pocket cover, manuscript notes in same hand on map: “See U.S. Review, No. 13, a full Topographical Sketch of the Province of Texas”; “See...Review No. 84 pa. 340 a description of the Port of Guaymas a good sea port but Wretched Country”; “Lieut. Hardy entered the Mouth of the Rio Colorado at the bottom of the Gulf of California—the Indians were naked, simple & wretched—the Gulf of California is [strong?] & dangerous & full of Sea Monsters & [desolation?]...Review No. 84 pa. 346-349.”

     First imprint in the Treaty Map sequence; first edition, second issue of Tanner’s map (the first issue of Tanner’s map appeared in 1825); Lawrence Martin’s sequence (b). For three decades following its first publication in 1826, Tanner’s map served as a source map of geographical knowledge for Mexico, emerging territories in the Transmississippi West, and Texas (Austin’s celebrated 1830 map of Texas was published by Tanner). Tanner based the present map on the cartographical work of Alexander von Humboldt, Don Juan Pedro Walker, Zebulon M. Pike, William Darby, Bernardo de Orta, J. F. de Lángara y Huarte, and other sources. Tanner’s map was often copied, both in the U.S. and abroad. In the present 1826 issue, Tanner fatefully altered the southern boundary of New Mexico west of the Rio Grande. White, Gallaher & White subsequently reproduced Tanner’s boundary in 1828, Rosa followed suit in 1837, and Disturnell in 1846 followed Tanner’s 1826 boundary in over twenty variants of his celebrated Treaty Map.

     Tanner’s map, with its simple straight line colored in pink and green, extending from El Paso westward, is one of the most important and interesting maps for showing how maps and mapmakers can influence history in a resounding way. This is the mother map that led to the subsequent controversy, which was defused only with the Gadsden Purchase (1853-1854), by which the United States obtained the disputed territory needed for the southern railroad route and the Santa Rita mines. Furthermore, Tanner’s 1826 map and its use as a source for Disturnell’s Treaty Map led to the problems that finally proved to the public and the United States government the value of accurate maps and efficient surveys.

     Martin & Martin, Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900, #37n. Rittenhouse, Disturnell’s Treaty Map, pp. 13-14. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, pp. 276-77n. Streeter Sale 3824 (this copy). Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West II, pp. 89-90 (commenting on Tanner’s original 1825 map on which the present 1826 version was based): “This was apparently a popular map, for five editions appeared (with no less than ten separate issues) between 1825 and 1847.... In 1826 [present map] Tanner altered [the southern] boundary west of El Paso, bringing it further north. This 1826 issue is the map which became the source for Disturnell’s celebrated ‘Mapa de los estados Unidos de Méjico,’ first published in 1846...”; #364n & Vol. II, pp. 229-230 (quoting Lawrence Martin’s sequence of editions of Tanner’s map and his commentary): “The 1825 edition of Tanner’s Map of Mexico evidently derived the southern boundary of New Mexico directly from the one on Baron von Humboldt’s map of New Spain published in 1809 [1811]. In the 1826 edition of his map of Mexico, however, Tanner deleted the southern boundary of New Mexico west of the Rio Grande and replaced it with a new boundary which is seen about eight miles farther north in the western part and eighty miles farther north in the eastern part. It is this latter boundary which was reproduced by White, Gallaher & White in 1828 and by Disturnell in 1846 and 1847. All the Tanner maps of Mexico from 1825 to 1847...are chiefly important because they represent the original source of Disturnell’s Map.” Wheat, Maps of the Gold Region #33n.

     Martin & Martin, Contours of Discovery, pp. 55-56: “It is...ironic that while Tanner continued to issue updated and improved versions of his own map of the developing Southwest, it was Disturnell’s plagiarism which became the accepted standard and the most widely circulated depiction of the area.... The [Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo] specified that this New Mexican border, which then became the international boundary, was that laid down on the Disturnell map [as copied from Tanner by White, Gallaher and White and then Disturnell]. Because of [Tanner’s] erroneous depiction of the Rio Grande and the resulting distortion of the surrounding topography on the Disturnell map, this clause of the treaty was to result in great difficulty for the official joint boundary commission when it attempted to survey the line on the ground, and it created great controversy in Washington.”

     Checking American Book Prices Current back to 1975 and Morrison guides back to 1987, we find no copies of this 1826 Tanner map. Antique Map Price Records back to 1983 show only a copy of the 1826 edition (with condition problems) offered by High Ridge in 1994 (the Wheat citation High Ridge provides, #529, is for a 1846 edition). The last copy of the 1826 Tanner map that we find at auction was the Streeter copy, which is the present copy.      ($20,000-30,000)


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