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Auction 14: Americana

Lots 5 & 6: World Atlases

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5. [ATLAS]. RAND, McNALLY & CO. New Indexed Atlas of the World Containing Large Scale Maps of Every Country and Civil Division upon the Face of the Globe, Together with Historical, Statistical and Descriptive Matter Relative to Each. Illustrated by Numerous Colored Diagrams, Accompanied by a New and Original Compilation Forming a Ready Reference Index, Which Presents as Its Special Feature the Arrangement in Alphabetical Order of Nearly All Known Geographical Names.... Chicago, 1887. 731 pp. (all but 3 plates and maps included in pagination), 97 cerographed and lithographed maps, the majority in color, most double-page, 4 large and folding (Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Texas–the folding maps are cerographed), 7 lithographed color plates (comparative architecture, flags, religious distribution, solar system, navy tonnage, military power, emigration statistics diagram), numerous engraved text illustrations (mostly views, but some maps and plans). Small, thick folio, original morocco-texture red sheep, lettered and decorated in gilt, beveled edges, a.e.g. Binding rubbed and worn (especially lower cover), but much better than usually found. A few minor repairs and splits to maps and U.S. map loose. Generally, the interior and maps are fine.
    The first edition of this atlas listed by the Library of Congress is 1886 (Phillips, Atlases 934). Despite this being a world atlas, the majority of maps relate to the United States and the Americas. The Texas map is of special interest. Martin & Martin (plate 49) illustrate and discuss a Rand, McNally & Co. map of Texas from the same year, which is entitled Rand, McNally & Co.’s New Enlarged Scale Railroad County Map of Texas. That map is almost identical to the present atlas map of Texas–in layout, inclusion of county map at lower right, and size (the present atlas map measures 64.8 x 73.8 cm; 25-1/2 x 28-3/4 inches). However, the present atlas map of Texas is untitled, whereas the map cited by Martin & Martin has a title as indicated above. This shows how Rand, McNally recycled their maps to be used as needed in specialized atlases or as separates.
    Because of the great detail found on the maps (and in the text), the atlas is important historically–and not only for transportation history. There are numerous other inroads of research, such as the map of Wyoming, which locates ranches. Each detailed map has light pastel color and identification of regions, sea routes, railroad lines, cities, towns, counties, rivers, Native American reservations, etc. Despite the late date of this atlas, it contains important transitional maps for some Western areas still developing at that time, such as the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Indian Territory. The map for the latter still shows the area divided into tribal allotments. Two years after this publication, that map would change dramatically because of the six land rushes the U.S. government authorized between 1889 and 1895, in which Native Americans once again lost their lands. The text accompanying the Indian Territory map discusses earlier attempted incursions: “Attempts were made in 1880 by bands of whites to enter the Indian Territory for the purpose of taking possession of the rich lands there, and a large force of United States troops had to be called out to prevent the execution of these designs.”
    What would become the mogul map firm of Rand, McNally & Co. was founded as a modest print shop in Chicago in 1856. The breakthrough for the firm was their introduction of rapidly evolving printing methods, which made it possible for maps to be printed quickly as changes in borders and transportation routes occurred. By the time the present atlas appeared, the firm was a very serious map and atlas publisher with categorized atlases, an international market for productions such as this one, and individually issued railroad and shipping guides in pocket map format. Martin & Martin (p. 61) comment on the Rand, McNally firm: “The era of railroad transportation and western migration created a great demand for Rand, McNally’s maps and guidebooks; these same forces, however, rendered the product virtually obsolete overnight. The number of copies required also strained the limits of the traditional methods of producing such items. In short, there was a great demand for large numbers of accurate, inexpensive, up-to-date maps and guidebooks. To fill this demand it was necessary for Rand, McNally to adopt a new printing technology, cerography or wax engraving, which produced a hard, durable plate that could be used in the new steam-powered presses, but which could also be easily corrected and amended. The adoption and perfection of the wax-engraving process as a production technique had enormous influence on the growth of Rand, McNally.” One interesting aspect of the present atlas is its inclusion of several printing techniques, including lithography, cerography, and engravings.

6. [ATLAS]. WILKINSON, Robert (publisher). A General Atlas, Being a Collection of Maps of the World and Quarters, the Principal Empires, and Kingdoms &c with Their Several Provinces, & Other Subdivisions, Correctly Delineated. London: Published Feby. 1st 1800. [2, engraved allegorical title of an angel and a lady surrounded by cartographical motifs commemorating the achievements of Columbus, Raleigh, Drake, and Cooke] [2, contents and publisher’s ad with imprint: London: Printed for Robert Wilkinson, No. 58, Cornhill, 1807] pp., 48 copper-engraved maps with original outline color and partial shading (2 double-page maps at front). 4to (34.2 x 28.6 cm; 13-1/2 x 11-1/4 inches), contemporary three-quarter sheep over boards covered with marbled paper, black leather label. Spine worn, dry, and cracking, corners worn and bumped, boards rubbed (with printed waste sheets below partially visible), hinges cracked (but strong), engraved title and prelims foxed, a few maps soiled and foxed, most maps fine except for foxing on blank versos, map of France carelessly mounted on a stub resulting in marginal wear and chipping at left blank margin.
    Wilkinson’s General Atlas was first published in London in 1794. This edition is dated 1800 on the engraved title and 1807 on the contents leaf, and the maps are dated between 1794 and 1807. See Phillips, Atlases 696, 701, 3532a, 4301. The maps were engraved by T. Conder, D. Wright, E. Bourne, J. Roper, T. Fool, B. Smith, W. Harrison, George Allen, and B. Baker. Five maps are of American interest (world, United States, North America, West Indies, and South America). The map of the United States does not yet show the Louisiana Purchase, but U.S. independence is acknowledged in the title (The United States of America Confirmed by Treaty 1783).

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