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AUCTION 21

October 26, 2007

“Scientific cartography of the Territory of Utah may be said to date from the appearance of this map”-Wheat

143. [MAP]. UNITED STATES. ARMY. CORPS OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS. STANSBURY, Howard, J[ohn] W[illiams] Gunnison, Charles Preuss & Albert Carrington. Map of the Great Salt Lake and Adjacent Country in the Territory Of Utah. Surveyed in 1849 and 1850, under the Orders of Col. J. J. Abert, Chief of the Topographical Bureau, by Capt. Howard Stansbury of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, aided by Lieut. J. W. Gunnison Corps Topographical Engineers and Albert Carrington. Drawn by Lieut. Gunnison and Charles Preuss. Ackerman Lith 379 Broadway N.Y. [New York, 1852]. Uncolored lithograph map mounted at an early date on cartographical linen, neat line to neat line: 109 x 76.7 cm, with embryonic grid pattern map of “Great Salt Lake City.” Overall moderate browning (darker where formerly folded and on verso), splits at old folds (a few minor losses). Old pencil note at lower left: “2 Mar 62 Mrs. Lewis Powell g.”

            First edition. Cohen, Mapping the West, pp. 164-166: “Before Stansbury, no one had successfully encircled the entire lake.... This region was so unwelcoming that it had discouraged even the hardy mountain men. Stansbury’s determination paid off, as his investigation led him to the conclusion that the entire Salt Lake Basin had once been a sea, complete with colossal islands.” Rumsey 950: “One of the earliest, and most important government maps of the Great Salt Lake area.” Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #765 (illustrated preceding p. 119) & Vol. III, pp. 126-128: “Obviously a major production...an illuminating map of Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, their respective valleys, and a portion of ‘Youab’ (Juab) Valley to the south.... This map permanently established the cartography and many place names of northwestern Utah.... One of its most attractive features is that it gives the Indian as well as the Mormon names of the various creeks draining from the mountains. For Great Salt Lake itself the map was definitive, of course, permanent names being given to all the islands and shoreline features.... Scientific cartography for the Territory of Utah may be said to date from the appearance of this map.”

            The map appeared in two government documents: Exploration and Survey of the Great Salt Lake of Utah..., Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1852 (32nd Congress, Spec. Session, Senate Document 3, Serial 608 (Plains & Rockies IV:219:2), and a House document of the same title published in Washington by Robert Armstrong in 1853 (Plains & Rockies IV:219:3). Commercial publication first appeared in An Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah..., Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1852 (Plains & Rockies IV:219:1). Becker gives priority to the commercial edition put out by Lippincott Grambo in 1852, but Goetzmann states Stansbury’s report issued first as a Senate Executive Document in March of 1851. See also: Flake 8360. Graff 3947. Howes S884. Meisel III, p. 115. Sabin 90372. Numerous foreign editions also appeared.

            Stansbury (1806-1863) was trained as a civil engineer and entered the Army as a first lieutenant of the Topographical Engineers in 1838, quickly rising to captaincy and participating in the Great Lakes Surveys until 1849. He was then put in charge of the exploration of the Great Salt Lake Basin, during which the work leading to the present map was done. His complex scientific work on that survey made more challenging by physical suffering and hostility from Native Americans, disenchanted 49ers, and initially suspicious Mormons. But he prevailed, with Jim Bridger as his guide, travelling all the way around the lake and being the first to understand that the Great Salt Lake was the residuary of a huge inland sea that once covered the Basin. On his way home he discovered and made an elementary survey of a central overland route south of the main trail through South Pass, during which he was injured by a fall from his horse, ending this survey. William H. Goetzmann, as usual, sums up beautifully: “It had been a daring feat of exploration, succeeding where the mountain men had all failed, and by means of his map of the western portion of the lake, Stansbury had painted at least one more bold stroke into the unfinished portrait of the national landscape” (Army Exploration in the American West: 1803-1863, Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1991, p. 222). See also DAB.

            Stansbury’s assistant, West Pointer John Williams Gunnison (1812-1853), participated in the Seminole and Cherokee Wars before joining Stansbury’s expedition to Utah. He generally spent the rest of his career in the West around the area of the Great Salt Lake and Utah, where he and several of his party were ambushed and killed under mysterious circumstances, the details of which remain unclear. He wrote one of the early books on the Mormons (The Mormons or Latter Day Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, a History of Their Rise and Progress, Peculiar Doctrine, Present Conditions and Projects, Philadelphia, 1852).

            Alfred Carrington, a Mormon scout for Stansbury’s party, was a member of the committee to draft the Constitution of the State of Deseret. Master German cartographer Charles Preuss (1803-1854), a veteran of the Frémont expedition, needs no introduction, but see Item 118 in this catalogue. ($200-400)

Sold. Hammer: $200.00; Price Realized: $235.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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