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Auction 13: A Few Good Maps & Manuscripts

Lot 4

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4. [TREATY MAP]. [POCKET MAP]. DISTURNELL, J[ohn]. Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Méjico, segun lo organizado y definido por las varias actas del Congreso de dicha República: y construido por las mejores autoridades. Lo publican J. Disturnell, 102 Broadway. Nueva York, 1846. Three insets at lower left: (1) Tabla de Distancias; (2) Tabla Estadistica (“Tejas” obliterated from “Cohahuila [sic] y Tejas”); (3) Carta de los caminos &c. desde Vera Cruz y Alvarado a Méjico. Upper right: Large engraving of Mexican eagle with snake in its beak, perched on cactus with names of Mexican states lettered on pads (including Nuevo Méjico; the pad formerly engraved Coahuila y Tejas altered to read only Coahuila y). Pocket map, folded into original 16mo red blind-stamped cloth covers with gilt lettering: MEXICO, inside cover with printed Statistics of the Republic of Mexico (New Mexico and Upper California designated as territories of Mexico). Engraved map with original full color in Mexico and the Southwest; Texas outlined in bright yellow with the outrageously long Panhandle extending almost to South Pass; Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana with outline coloring; traced in bright red are Wool’s route (main map) and major roads in the interior of Mexico (on inset). 74.5 x 104 cm (29-3/8 x 40-7/8 inches). Light browning along center, where the two sections of the map were originally joined (as is usually the case with this map printed on two plates), otherwise exceptionally fine and crisp, with most excellent, beautiful coloring, the red pocket covers bright. A superb example of one of the outstanding maps for United States, Texas, and Mexican history. Rare in any edition or condition, but especially in its desirable first appearance.

     First printing of Disturnell’s Treaty Map (title followed by Lo publican J. Disturnell, 102 Broadway and without the road between San Antonio and Austin). Martin, Disturnell, pp. 204-21. Martin & Martin, Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900, #37 & pp. 57, 137-39 (citing and illustrating an 1847 edition). Rittenhouse, Disturnell’s Treaty Map, p. 16. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, Plate 170 (illustrating an 1847 edition) & pp. 274-76: “This map was attached to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War and subsequently added California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah to the United States.... The boundary of the United States is depicted as the Rio Grande in the east and the parallel of 32°15' north latitude in the west. This caused San Diego, which lies just north of this line, to be included in the California territory claimed by the United States.” Taliaferro 283 (citing an 1846 revised edition and quoting Lawrence Martin): “The map actually became part of the Treaty [of Guadalupe Hidalgo] and has figured prominently in settling border disputes.”

     Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #507 & Vol. III, pp. 35-36: “[Mitchell’s 1846 map Texas, Oregon and California] and Disturnell’s [map] were among the most influential maps of the year [1846]... [Disturnell’s map] displayed certain significant items not present on the White, Gallaher and White map of 1828, from which it was taken. In the first place, the Alta California area, which included the Great Basin, was largely modeled on Frémont’s map of 1845, and the Great Salt Lake was copied from it. The Monte de Oregon still appears, however, crowding Frémont’s Old Park and New Park, and farther south is the Cumbre de Jaime (James Peak) on the site of Pike’s Peak. Moreover, on the Disturnell’s 1846 map the boundary of the United States is given as the Rio Grande, and other data respecting current and earlier Texas boundaries are added. Near the mouth of the Rio Grande, Ft. Brown now appears, with ‘Gen. Taylors Route 1846’ nearby. Another change took place farther west, of which Martin says: ‘An engraved boundary between Alta California and Baja California extends east and west near the parallel of 32°15' north latitude, from a point on the Colorado River about 50 miles south of the Gila to a point on the Pacific Coast about 50 miles south of San Diego. This boundary was not present on the White, Gallaher & White map, which has in color but without an engraved line the same northeast-southwest boundary between Upper and Lower California that appears as an engraved line on the 1846 and 1847 editions of the Tanner map, the 1826 edition of which was the source of the...editions published by White, Gallaher & White or by Disturnell. It is a debatable question whether, if Disturnell had engraved this northeast-southwest boundary upon his map in 1846, as Rosa did in his plagiarism of Tanner’s map in 1837, the southern boundary of the United States at the Pacific might have been fixed some 120 miles south of San Diego rather than only a little over a dozen miles south of that city.’” Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region #32n & #33n.

     John Disturnell was primarily a businessman rather than a cartographer. As events of the Mexican-American War developed and as changes occurred, he incorporated dates and places in new issues of his map without comment. Between 1846 and 1849 over twenty variants of his map appeared. The Disturnell Treaty Map was not an official government publication—it just happened to be the map that Nicolas P. Trist took with him when he was sent as peace commissioner to Mexico in 1847. It was the map’s inaccuracies in locating El Paso and the Rio Grande, rather than its correctness, which made it historically significant in U.S.-Mexican relations.

     It might be argued that the Disturnell version of the Treaty Map (particularly the first printing and the seventh and twelfth editions) is the most historic of the various maps in the Treaty Map sequence. It would seem that an example of Disturnell’s map would be the least difficult of the sequence to acquire, since Disturnell published over twenty variations, as compared to Tanner (approximately ten variants), White, Gallaher & White (one edition, or two, if agrees with Wheat), and Rosa (two editions). Yet, we find no copies of any edition of the Disturnell map in the Antique Map Price Records researched back to 1983. Checking back to 1975 in American Book Prices Current, we find only four copies of various editions of Disturnell’s map having sold at auction. The most recent sale of which we have knowledge is an 1850 edition (actually later than the Treaty Map Sequence) sold by Swaen in the latter months of 2002 ($20,000, very good in original pocket covers).      ($20,000-$40,000)


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