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Lot 106

106. [MAP]. MITCHELL, Samuel Augustus. Pocket map with text:

Text: MITCHELL, Samuel Augustus. Description of Oregon and California, Embracing an Account of the Gold Regions; To Which Is Added, An Appendix, Containing Descriptions of Various Kinds of Gold, and Methods of Testing Its Genuineness. With a Large and Accurate Map of Oregon and California, Compiled from the Latest Authorities. Philadelphia: [Printed By Smith & Peters, Franklin Buildings, Sixth Street below Arch, Philadelphia for]: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1849. 76 pp., folding map, 11 wood-engraved text illustrations. 12mo (height 13.6 cm; 5-3/8 inches), original marbled lower wrapper (as issued). Except for some light browning (mostly confined to blank margins), very fine. Contemporary ink inscription of T. M. Shelley and another contemporary ink notation stating “3-2 without: 3-6 with.” Preserved in a half black morocco black cloth clamshell case.

Map: A New Map of Texas Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining. Compiled from the Most Recent Authorities. Philadelphia Published by Thomas Cowperthwait & Co. Market St. No. 253. 1849 [Below neat line]: Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1845 by H. N. Burroughs in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Lithograph map within plain ruled border, on bank note paper, original full color (international boundaries in shaded outline, United States in wash). Neat line to neat line: 52.8 x 49 cm (20-3/4 x 19 inches), folded into covers. Inset lower left: Map of the Maritime and Overland Routes to California. Inset lower left: Map of the Gold and Quicksilver District Of California. Folded as issued. Light uniform age toning (more heavily so at folds), splitting at some folds with minor losses (some folds strengthened with tissue on verso), lower margin chipped with loss of a few letters in copyright statement.

Cover: Mitchell’s Guide to California. Original embossed gilt pictorial black roan, upper cover gilt lettered and with illustration of steamboat, barge, train, and telegraph line. Pastedowns do not match (white at front, salmon at rear), as issued. Corners bumped and small voids re-colored.

     Second edition (first edition, 1846). Cowan I, pp. 67-68. Cowan II, pp. 433-444. Graff 2839. Holliday 833. Howell, California 50:173. Howes M687 (“b”). Rocq 15968. Sabin 19712. Smith 6889. Streeter Sale 2579. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 143. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 108 & pp. xxvi-xxvii.

     The text of the guide covers “Oregon And California” (pp. 3-12), “Oregon Territory” (pp. 13-30), “Upper Or New California” (pp. 30-71), and “Appendix” (pp. 72-76). Considerable attention is given to physical features of the country, flora and fauna, Native Americans, and history. Practical directions to the potential emigrant are provided, with repeated admonitions to travel overland in armed groups: “Emigrants...ought to unite in companies of from 20 to 50 wagons, well armed, and keeping a strict watch after dark so as not to be surprised by the Indians. In camping at night, it is usual to form a circle or square with the wagons by bringing them close together...thus forming a secure breastwork” (p. 25). One of the unusual predictions is that steamboats will never replace sailing ships as a practical way to reach California from the East Coast (pp. 61-62); the author seems to prefer overland travel to maritime routes. On the whole, this pamphlet is considerably less caustic and more informative than the one published with the 1846 edition of Mitchell’s map.

     The map is from the same plate as that used to print Mitchell’s 1846 map by the same title. Here, however, the “Explanation” and table of distances found on the 1846 map have been erased and replaced by the two insets. Considerably more detailed information has also been added, although “California” is still shown much as it was in the 1846 version. Especially altered is the interior region of California, which includes far more physical detail than did its predecessor; yet, a large region is still labeled “Unexplored.” The main transformation, however, is to render the map something of a vade mecum for the Forty-Niner. The overland trails to the West are here highlighted in vivid color; the Gold Regions are given a special color; the sea routes to California are shown in an inset; and the Gold Regions themselves are also shown in an inset. Finally, the boundary between the United States and Canada has been relabeled “Boundary of 1846” to reflect the settlement of that question.

Kurutz,The California Gold Rush 447b:

Mitchell’s guide published much of the standard information on California, including its history, and pre-1848 inhabitants. Mitchell also published advice on routes to California, including five by way of Central America. The guide also contained government reports as well as a California circular under the heading of “Ho! For California.” The appendix consisted of “Description of gold in its various states— methods of testing.”


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