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Superb Copy of a Landmark Map & Guide for the American West

65. [MAP]. MITCHELL, S[amuel] Augustus. A New Map of Texas Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining. Compiled from the Most Recent Authorities. Philadelphia Published by S. Augustus Mitchell N. E. Corner of Market & Seventh Streets. 1846 [lower left above border] Entered According to Act of Congress in the Year 1845 by H. N. Burroughs in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. [texts at lower left] Explanation [and] Emigrant Route From Missouri To Oregon. Philadelphia, 1846. Lithograph map on bank note paper, original full hand color, ornamental border in pink. Folded as issued in original cover. Border to border: 56.4 x 52 cm. Bound with text (as issued): Accompaniment to Mitchell’s New Map of Texas, Oregon, and California, With the Regions Adjoining Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, N.E. Cor. Market And Seventh Sts. 1846. [1-2] 3-46 [2 blank] pp. 12mo, original plain lower wrapper (probably as issued). Second signature signed both 2 and B. Map and pamphlet bound into pocket covers (13.5 x 8.5 cm), original purple roan, original leather label on upper cover lettered in gilt Texas, Oregon And California, both covers elaborately blind-embossed. Contemporary ink signature “James Gibb 1847” on front pastedown. Covers and text very fine. Except for two tiny splits at vertical folds reinforced on verso and three letters in title damaged, the map is very fine and crisp, with superb color. A wonderful copy. Preserved in a half brown levant morocco and burgundy cloth clamshell case.

     First edition. Baughman, Kansas in Maps, p. 35. Braislin Sale 1268. Cohen, Mapping the West, pp. 134-135. Cowan II, p. 433. Day, 387. Graff 2841. Holliday Sale 787. Howes M685. Littell Sale 742. Martin & Martin, pp. 134-135, Color Plate XI (p. 56). Plains & Rockies (4th) 122b. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, p. 276. Sabin 49714. Smith 2529. Streeter Sale 2511. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #520, Vol. III, p. 35. Wheat, Maps of the Gold Region 29, pp. xv-xvi. Cf. Phillips, Maps of America, p. 844.

     This map and its accompanying emigrant guide have been widely and frequently praised as the most accurate and current information then available in separate cartographic form for the regions shown. According to the accompanying pamphlet: “The chief authorities from which the map is compiled, are the Congressional Map of Texas, 1844, Kennedy’s Map of Texas by Arrowsmith, Mitchell’s Map of Texas, Ward’s Map of Mexico, Fremont’s Map of his explorations in Oregon, California, &c., 1842, 1843, 1844, Map of Lewis and Clarke’s tour, Major Long’s tour to the Rocky mountains, Nicollet and Fremont’s exploration of the country between the Mississippi and Missouri, the Congressional Map of the Indian territory, and Mitchell’s Map of the United States” (p. 3).

     For those contemplating the journey west, the Oregon Road and the Santa Fe trails from Independence, Missouri, are shown and a table of distances between Westport and Oregon City is printed. Even with these advances, however, the map also makes clear the vast stretches of Old Mexico and the West that remain unknown and unexplored. Much of California and the rest of the West is shown basically featureless, and “California” occupies the entire area of modern-day California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. The map also shows an early depiction of Texas as a state of the Union, complete with all its extravagant territorial claims, including a Panhandle that stretches aggressively north to the 42nd parallel and a border on the Rio Grande. This map has been updated, however, to show Texas divided into counties instead of empresario grants.

     What information the map may lack is in many ways supplied by the pamphlet, which discusses Texas, Oregon Territory, California, Iowa, Indian Territory, and Missouri Territory, but the majority of it is devoted to the first three. In several respects, some of the remarks about Californians are astounding, even for the time: “Descended from the old Spaniards, they are unfortunately found to have all their vices, without a proper share of their virtues.... Their amusements are cock-fighting, bull and bear-baiting, and dancing...always accompanied with excessive drinking.... The female portion of the community are ignorant, degraded, and the slaves of their husbands.... The Indians of Upper California are indolent and pusillanimous... they are all extremely filthy in their habits” (pp. 28-29). On the other hand, Texas, the success of which Mitchell clearly wishes to promote, is made to sound like an earthly paradise. Oregon, which Mitchell wants the United States to incorporate, is also described favorably at great length. By contrast, the Missouri Territory is only briefly touched upon in an almost dismissive manner.

     Mitchell also published this map with a different border as an inset in his oversize Reference and Distance Map of the United States (Philadelphia, 1846), which was printed on nine separate sheets. The fact that the inset contains its own copyright notice strongly implies that it was ready before the rest of the map. Copies of the Accompaniment are occasionally encountered separate from any map. ($10,000-20,000)

Sold. Hammer: $10,000.00; Price Realized: $11,750.00

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