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AUCTION 16

“THE WORLD RUSHED IN”
THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH

Lot 67

“The first widely circulated map to announce the location of the discovery of gold deposits along the American and Feather rivers”—Ehrenberg

67. FRÉMONT, John Charles. Geographical Memoir upon Upper California, in Illustration of His Map of Oregon and California. By John Charles Frémont: Addressed to the Senate of the United States. Washington: Tippin & Streeper, 1849. 30th Congress, 2d Session. House Miscellaneous Document No. 5. Serial 544. 40 pp., folded lithographed map with original outline color in green: Map of Oregon and Upper California from the Surveys of John Charles Frémont and other Authorities. Drawn By Charles Preuss under the Order of the Senate of the United States Washington City 1848. Lithy. by E. Weber & Co. Balto. (83.7 x 67.2 cm; 33 x 26-1/2 inches). 8vo, recent half green morocco over green cloth, gilt-lettered spine. Text with uniform light browning, otherwise fine. map with minor loss at lower blank left margin, otherwise very fine (much better than usually found).

     First edition, the House issue of the report of Frémont’s third expedition, with the large-scale map rather than the smaller quadrant map. California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present (Ralph E. Ehrenberg) 27: “One of the seminal maps in the history of California exploration and settlement, the Frémont-Preuss map of 1848 is the last of four major cartographic works documenting Lieut. John C. Frémont’s two pioneering trans-Mississippi exploration expeditions to Oregon and Northern California in 1843-44 and to the Great Basin and Californian 1844-46. It provides the first depiction of the California region based on scientific topographic surveys, notably expanding contemporary geographic knowledge of the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, and the drainage pattern of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Published on the eve of the California Gold Rush and statehood, this map also served as a powerful political document that promoted the prevailing American concept of the Manifest Destiny. It was one of the first maps to depict the creation of the Territory of Oregon and the establishment of the Mexican-United States boundary, which was ratified on July 4,1848; the first widely circulated map to announce the location of the discovery of gold deposits along the American and Feather rivers; and it introduced or perpetuated numerous California place names including Kern River, Walker Pass, Owens Lake, and the ‘inspired’ term, Golden Gate, designating the entrance to San Francisco Bay.”

     Cohen, Mapping the West, pp. 152-153. Cowan II, p. 223n. Fritz, California Coast Redwood 303 (citing Senate issue). Howell, California 50:90. Howes F366. Littell 385. Paher, Nevada 637. Plains & Rockies IV:150:2. Sabin 25837. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, plate 171, p. 278. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 78. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West III, 559 & pp. 55-62: “The one great general map of 1848 was that of Frémont and Preuss.” Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 40, p. xxi: “The words ‘El Dorado or Gold Region’ which appear on this map along the American and Feather Rivers are patent afterthoughts, unquestionably added to the stone after the rest of the map had been drawn.”

     Despite some misstatements by others, as Wheat points out, the map here is the large-scale, complete one, not the smaller quadrant that some say belongs with this report. In compiling this record of his third expedition, Frémont was relying totally on his memory because his journals had all been destroyed. Coming as it did nearly simultaneously with the announcement of California gold discoveries, it was basically the first reliable geographical information available to forty-niners, although, as Wheat points out, the legends indicating where gold had been found were probably added just before publication. Schwartz & Ehrenberg remark: “San Francisco’s ‘Chrysopylae or Golden Gate’...and the phrase ‘El Dorado or Gold Regions,’ one of the earliest graphic announcements of the discovery of gold in California.” The map is also important as one of the early ones to depict the newly created Oregon Territory and for providing the first information about the unexplored area between the Great Salt Lake and the Pacific Ocean.

Kurutz, The California Gold Region 256b:

Fremont’s work, as Wheat pointed out, was included in many Gold Rush compendia. It was prepared to illustrate his “Map of California and Oregon” (1848). His report provided gold seekers with a reliable summary of the terrain they were about to encounter.... Sabin notes that this work is an account of the third Fremont expedition, and that it is “sometimes found with Emory’s Notes of a Military Reconnaissance (Wagner-Camp-Becker 148).

($1,500-3,000)

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