AUCTION 23

 

Railroad Promotional Puffery—Mapping the I&GN Vision of Texas in 1877

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315. [MAP]. INTERNATIONAL & GREAT NORTHERN RAILROAD OF TEXAS. HOXIE, H.M. (Superintendent & Promoter). Map of the International and Great Northern Railroad (Lone [illustration of star] Route) and Connections. Woodward, Tiernan & Hale, Map Engravers, St. Louis [lower right within image] Rand, McNally & Co., Map Engrs’ Chicago [Extensive text at right commencing] Good News from Texas. St. Louis, [1877]. Black & white lithograph map with timetable on verso, neat line to neat line: 41 x 38 cm; overall sheet with text: 42.5 x 56.5 cm. Except for minor loss at one fold, very fine. The map is folded into, as issued, pamphlet with wrapper title: The Lone Star Guide Descriptive of Counties on the Line of the International and Great Northern Railroad of Texas.... St. Louis: Woodward, Tiernan & Hale, [1877]. 32 pp., 11 wood-engraved text illustrations (scenes and architecture). 8vo (22.2 x 14.5 cm), original green printed wrappers, stitched. Upper wrapper badly torn with loss of some text, lower wrapper lightly chipped and stained, upper right corners of text chipped and dog-eared, but with no loss of text. Very scarce in commerce as well as institutional holdings (OCLC locates five copies).

     First edition. Rumsey 5051: “An early issue of this 32-page guide (later issues were expanded to over 100 pages).” The promoters declare: “Texas wants one million emigrants—annually for twenty years.” Section titles include “Who Should Go to Texas,” “When to Go to Texas,” “Reasons for Settling on the Line of the International and Great Northern Railroad,” followed by reviews of counties, provisions of the Texas constitution, and general information such as wages and prices of lumber and stock (Spanish ponies broken and unbroken, beef cattle, etc.).

     The International & Great Northern Line was founded in October 1866 with the help of both local and eastern capital. The railroad grew slowly but did not last long after this publication, going bankrupt in April 1878. It continued, however, under various guises to the present time. The I&GN line is an historic Texas institution. According to S.G. Reed (A History of Texas Railroads, 1941, p. 314), it is “the oldest and most important of the roads that now comprise their Texas lines; it is the one with the most colorful and important history; its immediate predecessor was the first railroad chartered in Texas after the Civil War; and it was the only Texas railroad exempted from state taxes for twenty-five years.” A futile line was run to a quarry in Oatmanville to provide stone for the new state capitol; after the tracks were laid, however, the granite was found to be unsatisfactory and stone from elsewhere was used instead. In a final ironic note, Reed notes that this railroad has probably gone bankrupt more than any other Texas rail line (pp. 325).

     This extremely detailed map of Texas and the I&GN route no doubt served as a spur and guide to Texas emigration, especially with the I&GN’s bold statements, such as “Reduced Limited First Class Rates,” “Reduced Emigrant Rates,” and effusive descriptions of the land along the route. The pamphlet and map demonstrate the type of promotional literature used to develop towns across Texas and the rest of country by employing tactics to shape the imaginations of emigrants and those wishing to promote a particular town. See Philip Guy Pope’s interesting essay extensively discussing this map (“Urban Rivalry in a Rural County: The Contest for Dominance between Rockdale and Cameron in Milam County, Texas, 1873-1954,” Master’s Thesis, University of Texas at Arlington, 2006).

($400-800)

Auction 23 Abstracts

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