— Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2013 —
Very Rare, Large-Scale Pocket Map of Arkansas
With an Emphasis on Railroads & Transportation
361. [MAP]. ROSS, E.H. (publisher), W[illiam] A. Mosberger (surveyor), and A[lexander] McLean (lithographer). Ross’ New Sectional Map of the State of Arkansas Showing the Sections, Townships, Lines, Ranges, Principal Rivers, Creeks, Post Offices, Landings, Towns, Roads, Railroads, U.S. Surveys, Lakes, & etc. Compiled & drawn by Wm A. Mosberger, Surveyor, General Office Mo. Published by E.H. Ross Western Map Emporium 313 Locust Street, St. Louis Mo. Dealer in Maps Charts, Picture Frames, Photographs, Engravings, Albums, Lithographs & Chromos. [key within shield, illustrating symbols for townships, state and county boundaries, range & township line, etc.] Explanations [below key] A. McLean lith. St Louis | Geo F. Cram & Co 148 Lake St. Chicago. Scale of 10 miles to one inch. St. Louis, n.d. [1873 or before]. Lithograph map on banknote paper with original pale color wash for Arkansas counties; border to border: 86.3 x 73.2 cm; overall sheet size: 90 x 75.5 cm, ornate leaf border, folded into original brown blind-embossed pocket covers (15.5 x 10 cm), gilt-lettered on upper cover: New Sectional Map of Arkansas, Published by E.H. Ross, St. Louis, broadside printed on yellow paper used as front pastedown, reading: E.H. Ross, Western Map Emporium (advertisement). Map moderately stained in one panel where adhered to lower pocket cover, 9 cm tear at left margin (no losses), a few tiny separations at folds (no losses), light browning at some folds, overall very good. Pocket covers slightly bubbled in a few spots where original adhesive did not properly adhere, pastedown paper perished at gutter (not affecting text). Overall a very good copy of an exceptionally rare map.
Undetermined edition, but 1873 or before (modern-day Baxter and Clay Counties, not shown on the map, were created on March 24, 1873). Dated printings found for 1871 (Donald Heald in inventory 2012); 1872 (University of Chicago & British Library, holdings confirmed). The British Library report of an 1874 edition is in error. Donald Heald’s copy has the 1871 date between “Western Map Emporium” and the shield around the key. In our copy that space is blank with no evidence of removal. Heald’s copy has a plain line border, and ours has an ornate leaf border. The same fifty-eight counties are shown on both maps. The map is not listed by Phillips or other standard sources. Publisher’s advertisements on the pastedown of the pocket folder offers the map mounted and on rollers for $2.00, and the pocket map form at $1.50. The other ad is for Ross’ Sectional Map of Kansas: “Entirely new, and on a scale sufficiently large to show everything of importance, within the borders of the state.” The same description that Ross offers for his Kansas map applies to the present map as well: “The engraving is clear and beautiful, all Railroads, Stations, and Sections are plainly engraved. Great pains have been taken to make this a perfectly reliable and correct Map. In accuracy and completeness there is no other to compare with it, and, it is believed, will meet a long felt want of the public....” Ross notes that his Western Map Emporium keeps in inventory a full line of maps from his own firm as well as Gaylord Watson of New York and George F. Cram of Chicago. The Western Map Emporium was located in St. Louis at what is now the Federal Reserve Bank Research Library. It seems to have been a short-lived venture, but with high-quality maps.
The emphasis of this large, detailed map is on railroads and other transportation. The map was published at a time when Arkansas was undergoing rapid change. Construction of railroads enabled more farmers to get their products to market. It also brought new development into other parts of the state, including resorts, such as Hot Springs. For the time, this was the right map for “The Arkansas Traveller.”
Biographical material on E.H. Ross is scant. Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition), Vol. I, p. 73 notes only Ross’ 1872 edition of the present map. In addition to the present map, Ross created maps of Kansas (1871 & 1872), Texas-Indian Territory (1872 & 1873), Missouri (1872), and St. Louis (1871). Surveyor William A. Mosberger, who according to text on the map worked for the U.S. Surveyor General’s Office in Missouri, died in 1876 at St. Louis and owned property there which came into litigation (Southwestern Reporter, Vol. 43, West Publishing Company, 1897, pp. 63-65). The prolific cartographic firm of George Franklin Cram (1842-1928) was established in Chicago in 1869, with an emphasis on the Midwest and atlases.
This map is a superb example of the use of lithography in cartographic art, and it is one of the most beautiful maps of Arkansas from any period. Credit goes to the talented lithographer Alexander McLean (b. Scotland ca. 1823-?), who is listed in the St. Louis directories from 1859 through 1875. He created a wide variety of prints, such as bird’s-eye views of various cities, including: Great Salt Lake (1852; Reps Views & Viewmakers of America 4018), Columbus, Mississippi (ca. 1871?; Reps 1970); Belleville, Illinois (1859; Reps 781). One of the books for which he provided illustrations was J.N. Taylor and M.O. Cooks’ Sketch Book of St. Louis (1858). McLean also made illustrated sheet music and prints of all types, including an oversize print from a photograph of the St. Louis Turnverein. McLean is best known for his cartoons, such as his [in]famous image lampooning Jeff Davis as a cross-dresser, Jeff’s Last Skedaddle (ca. 1865). See Peters (America on Stone, pp. 277-278) and Groce & Wallace, p. 416.
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