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Auction 15: Fine Collection of Californiana Formed by Daniel G. Volkmann Jr.
“A Veritable Tour de Force in Four Sheets” (Wheat)
132. [MAP: OVERLAND ROUTE TO CALIFORNIA]. JEFFERSON, T. H. Lithographed map in four separate sheets (as issued):
(1) Map of the Emigrant Road from Independence Mo. to St. Francisco California by T. H. Jefferson. Entered According to Act of Congress in the Year 1849 by T. H. Jefferson in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York. Part I. New York. Published by the Author 1849.
(2) Map of the Emigrant Road from Independence Mo. to St. Francisco California by T. H. Jefferson. Part II. Copyright Secured.
(3) Map of the Emigrant Road from Independence Mo. to St. Francisco California by T. H. Jefferson. Part III. Copyright Secured.
(4) Map of the Emigrant Road from Independence Mo. to St. Francisco California by T. H. Jefferson. Part IV. Copyright Secured.
Each map measures approximately 37.4 x 51.5 cm (14-3/4 x 20-1/4 inches), varying slightly in size. Some light surface soiling and splits at folds (occasional minor losses), several spots on Map IV. Each map matted, under glass, and in a wooden frame. Inventory notes indicate the maps have been professionally restored and deacidified.
Item 132. Among the rarest maps and guides a collector
of Californiana and
Western Americana can hope to own (four copies known)
[With separate original printed pamphlet, caption heading]: Accompaniment to the Map of the Emigrant Road from Independence, Mo., to St. Francisco, California. By T. H. Jefferson. New York: Published by the author, and for sale by Berford & Co., 2 Astor House, 1849. Entered According to Act of Congress, in the Year 1849, by T. H. Jefferson, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York. Brief Practical Advice to the Emigrant or Traveller. 11 pp., 16mo, original stitching. First page with a few light stains, ink spot on p. 7, otherwise very fine.
[With separate original map case, original lithographed white label with title and ornate decorative border in blue, label reading in part]: Map of the Emigrant Road from Independence Mo. to St. Francisco California by T. H. Jefferson...New York Published by the Author 1849...Lith of G. Snyder 138 Wm. St N.Y. 16mo, original glazed red floral patterned paper over cardboard (lacking matching red chemise). Paper separating at joints with occasional small losses, label slightly rubbed.
Pamphlet and map case preserved in half red morocco and red cloth clamshell case. Overall a magnificent copy of an incredibly rare and important Western Americanum.
First edition. Cohen, Mapping the West, pp. 154-157: “Although Jefferson used such obvious resources as Frémont and Preuss, much of the map originated with Jefferson himself.” Cowan II, p. 311. Doheny Sale 233: “One of the rarest and most important maps of the overland route to California, with the even rarer text pamphlet.” Howes J73. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 359a: “T. H. Jefferson states that he was ‘one of the party of immigrants who travelled the road with wagons in 1846.’ No doubt he published this map and guide to appeal to gold seekers. He packed the ‘Accompaniment’ with practical advice touching on such topics as party size, wagons, sleeping tents, types of animals, provisions, arms and ammunition, and various useful articles. He also listed goods in demand among the Native Americans. He wrote: ‘Side saddles should be discarded–women should wear hunting-frocks, loose pantaloons, men’s hats and shoes, and ride the same as the men.’ Jefferson warned his readers: ‘The journey is not entirely a pleasure trip.’” Miles & Reese, Creating America 36: “One of the rarest guide books to the Oregon and California Trails.” Plains & Rockies IV:168. Turner 89. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 624 & III, pp. 92-97; Maps of the California Gold Region 101.
of Western cartography during 1849 is one of exploitation of prior wealth
more than of discovery and development. The theme is perhaps appropriate
to the year, and to the history of mining, but at the time when commercial
cartographers seem to have been principally interested in mining the
pockets of the gold hunters, a map like that of T. H. Jefferson stands
forth as the one truly great commercial production of the year. That
this map was wholly without influence must carry a moral of some kind.
Jefferson...went out to California with the emigration of 1846. Almost
no information about him has come to light other than the fact, which
might have been inferred from the place of publication of this map,
that he was a New Yorker.... Jefferson’s map and Accompaniment display
a singular immunity to the gold fever; in California he shows ‘Gold
Region’ in the appropriate area, but that is his only concession to
the zeitgeist.... J. Goldsborough Bruff, one of the few Forty-niners
to mention Jefferson, commented on September 13, 1849, that his was
‘a small map of the route through by “Trucky Pass,”–a Good Guide’; and
again, ‘a very good practical Guide it is, for the central route,’ remarks
of a kind made about almost no other Guide.... We may repeat
Bruff’s characterization of Jefferson’s map, for it remains to this
day ‘a very good practical Guide’ to overland travel in the year 1846,
as well as a historical document beyond price. Jefferson’s map was perhaps
the most remarkable single cartographic tour de force of its
period” (Wheat, MTW).
The map detail is incredible, showing individual houses (sometimes with owner’s name), ranches, graves, springs, ponds, lakes, “large herds of wild horses” along the San Joaquin River, and other landmarks. Based as it is on Jefferson’s own experiences in making the journey, the combination of the map and pamphlet are a unique contribution to the literature. The pamphlet has met with mixed reviews, Kurutz being favorable but Wheat remarking that the text consists of “rather rambling advice.” The map sections each delineate one stage of the journey and show not only landmarks and other such physical features, but also serve as a diary of Jefferson’s journey.
The first section
shows the route between Independence and the confluence of the Platte
and South Fork, near which Jefferson notes he saw the first buffalo.
The second section carries the route to east of the mouth of the Sweetwater.
In this section Jefferson notes the first graves he encountered and
makes mention of coal deposits. The third section takes the journey
to the Great Salt Lake. This section becomes very detailed and busy
with numerous landmarks and difficulties noted, especially the section
east of Fire Mountain, said to be a “fearful long drive 85 miles no
grass nor water.” West of Fire Mountain, however, it is noted that there
is “Good Water & Grass.”
The fourth part ends the journey at San Francisco, noting this of the Donner Party at Truckee Pass: “It was six miles east of the Truckey Pass of the Cal. Mts. that Reeds Party in November encountered snow ten feet deep and half the party perished. Emigrants who reach this Pass by the first of October are safe. Those who come later and encounter snow, should at once retreat to Grass Valley or the mouth of Truckee River and winter there or to the southward on the streams of the eastern base of the Californian Mountains. The western descent of these mountains is the most rugged and difficult portion of the whole journey.” Jefferson’s map is the first to show the route actually taken by the Donner Party, including the Hastings Cutoff. Ironically, the Donner Party was only three days behind him on his trip.
Copies are located at Huntington (maps & text, but no case); Yale (maps only); Princeton (maps, text, and case); and a private collection (maps, text, and case; purchased from the Estelle Doheny auction).
133. [MAP: OVERLAND
ROUTE TO CALIFORNIA]. JEFFERSON, T. H. Map of the Emigrant
Road from Independence, Mo., to St. Francisco, California...with an
Introduction and Notes by George R. Stewart. San Francisco [&
Oakland: Lawton & Alfred Kennedy at Westgate Press for] California
Historical Society, 1945.  xi [1, blank] 23  pp., folding facsimile
map in four sections (in rear pocket). 8vo, original red cloth, white
label printed in blue on upper cover (reduced facsimile of label on
original map case). Very fine.
Limited edition (300 copies printed). Evans, The First Hundred Years: A Descriptive Bibliography of California Historical Society Publications, 1871-1971 #27: “Special Publication No. 20.... The maps are reproduced on all-rag, opaque manifold paper.” Holliday 571. Howell 50, California 1362. Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 359b. Norris 1858. George R. Stewart’s commentary on the map is excellent and adds greatly to our understanding and appreciation of Jefferson’s map. For instance, Dr. Stewart includes the following conclusion, which is often repeated by others: “Jefferson was a practical not a theoretical cartographer. He was preparing not a map for a geographical society, but a guide for emigrants. For such an end latitude and longitude were of second importance. The emigrants had only a general interest in how far they were from the North Pole or the meridian of Greenwich, but they had an always particular and sometimes life-and-death interest in how far they were from the next pasturage or how long it would take them to reach the next water. In such matters Jefferson is meticulous; he marks so many landmarks that an emigrant would nearly always have been able to tell within two or three miles just where he was, and accordingly what the prospects for the rest of the day’s journey were likely to be.... His superiority to Frémont and Preuss is striking.... That Jefferson’s map did not sell more widely was in fact not so much his ill luck as that of the gold-seekers; if more of them had the map, the summer of ’49 would have seen fewer graves along the Humboldt.”