98. [MAP]. NELL, Louis. Nell’s Topographical & Township Map of the State of Colorado Compiled from U.S. Government Surveys & Other Authentic Sources Washington D.C. 1883 Stone & Co. Agents. 372 Larimer Str. Denver. [below neat line at lower left] Am. Photo-Litho. Co. N.Y. [below neat line at center] Entered According to Act of Congress in the Year 1881, by Louis Nell in the Office of Librarian of Congress at Washington D.C. Denver: Stone & Co., 1883. Lithograph map on bank note paper in full original color with borders in bright blue, with 3 insets containing geographical information at lower right, key locating railroads, wagon roads, trails, camp sites, military reservations, etc. Neat line to neat line: 70.1 x 94.5 cm; scale: one inch = 10-1/2 miles. Folded into original pocket folder of green cloth, blind-embossed and gilt-lettered (16.2 x 10.7 cm). Pocket folder. New sympathetic lining papers applied to inner hinge, pastedown slightly chipped along margins, overall very fine, the map exceptionally fine with only one small tear at upper blank margin and a few miniscule splits (no losses).
Second issue of Stone & Co.’s version (their first issue was 1880). Nell’s map, or some version of it, was issued repeatedly by various publishers, all of whom seem to use basically the same map but sometimes drawn to different scales. The scale shown here on the Stone & Co. version was, according to Ellis (entry 89), also issued in 1881 by Nell at Washington, D.C. The present version is not listed in Ellis’ Colorado Mapology; however, he lists another version issued by Chain & Hardy with a scale one inch equaling eight miles (see Ellis entry 95). No matter which issue is being discussed, all of Nell’s large-scale maps of Colorado are extremely detailed and important. They demonstrate the state and its shifting county lines with great clarity and were no doubt of much use to real estate speculators, miners, and potential settlers. Ellis is uniform in his praise of all versions. Of the first version of Stone & Co.’s map, he remarks: “This is an excellent map” and that the railroads are much better delineated than on previous maps (Ellis entry 83). Some version of this map was issued well into the twentieth century.
Nell (1842- ), a German emigrant, quickly became recognized as an efficient surveyor shortly after he arrived in the United States. The U.S. Army hired him as a chief topographer to explore west of the hundredth meridian, and he assisted with topographic surveys for the U.S. Geological Survey under Wheeler. He settled in Denver and began issuing Colorado maps in 1880, revising them periodically as the need arose. He was the most important Colorado topographer of his time, and his maps were a commercial success. ($2,000-4,000)
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