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Texas, California, the Southwest U.S., Mexico & the Borderlands:
Interesting books, broadsides, maps & ephemera

Lot 26

A Rare Farnham with Two Maps
signed by Greek-American Naval Officer George Musalas Colvocoresses

26. FARNHAM, Thomas J. Mexico: Its Geography—Its People—And Its Institutions: With a Map, Containing the Result of the Latest Explorations of Fremont, Wilkes, and Others. New York: H. Long & Brother, [1846 copyright by Theodore Foster], n.d. 80 pp., 2 folding maps. 8vo, original beige pictorial wrappers with wood-engraved portrait of Santa Anna. Fragile wraps worn with chipping and some tears along outer margin of upper wrap (no losses), lower wrap almost detached. Text and maps moderately foxed. A well worn copy of a rare book. This is an interesting association copy, bearing the contemporary ink signature of noted Greek-American naval officer George M. Colvocoresses, who served in the Pacific Squadron 1844-1846, and quite naturally would have been keenly interested in Farnham’s book with its suggestions on military operations against Mexico in 1846.


Mexico, Texas & California by Thos. J. Farnham, Author of Travels in Oregon, California &c. &c. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1846, by T. J. Farnham in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New Yo (sic) Lith of Lewis & Brown, 272 Pearl St. N.Y. Lithograph map. Neat line to neat line: 27.5 x 26.5 cm (10-7/8 x 10-1/2 inches).

Map of Central Mexico: Showing the Contemplated Route of the Army. Engraved map. Entire image, including title: 20.5 x 23.2 cm (8-1/8 x 9-1/8 inches). Includes the South Texas theater.

     Second edition, enlarged (with an added map, plus an additional very negative chapter on “Mexican character, habits, manners and superstitions”). Day, Maps of Texas, p. 42. Garrett, p. 201. Plains & Rockies IV:120b:3. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 508. Farnham (1804-1848) travelled to the West Coast from Illinois with a group of green adventurers, almost none of whom, except Farnham and two others, actually made it to Oregon.  From Oregon, Farnham went to Hawaii, came back to California, crossed Mexico, and went back to Illinois by way of the Mississippi River. He subsequently returned to San Francsico, where he died. In his writings, he actively promoted U.S. expansion to the western parts of North America, and Rittenhouse (Santa Fe Trail  201) conjectured that he might even have been a secret agent for the U.S. government. His Travels in the Californias, and Scenes in the Pacific Ocean (1844) is a Zamorano 80 selection.

     Colvocoresses (1816-1872) lived a life of high Greek drama. Born on the Island of Scio in the Greek archipelago, at the age of six he was ransomed from the Turks after the Scio massacre and sent to the United States, where he was raised by Capt. Alden Partridge and educated at the military academy in Norwich, Vermont. His first naval venture came in 1832 when he was appointed a midshipman, and in 1836-1837 he served on the frigate United States on the Mediterranean squadron. In 1838 he accompanied Wilkes' exploring expedition to the South Pacific, serving at various times on the Porpoise, Peacock, Vincennes, and Oreton, and going on the overland expedition in 1841 from Vancouver's Island to San Francisco. He served in the Pacific squadron (1844-1846), the Mediterranean squadron (1847-1849), on the coast of Africa (1851-1852), New York (1853-1855), in the East India squadron (1855-1858, during which he participated as executive officer of the Levant in the capture of the Barrier forts in Canton River), and at Portsmouth Navy Yard in 1858-1860. Beginning in 1861 he commanded the store-ship Supply on the Atlantic coast (1861-1863), during which he captured the blockade-runner Stephen Hart, laden with arms and military stores. Other Civil War ventures saw him in action on the sloop-of-war Saratoga in the South Atlantic, and once again in the Pacific Squadron in 1865-1866. In 1867 he retired and was mysteriously murdered in Bridgeport in 1872. He wrote an account of the Wilkes expedition, Four Years in a Government Exploring, Expedition (New York, 1855). ($1,200-2,400)

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