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The Great Dakota Boom - Cartographically Considered

88. [MAP].  CRAM, George F[ranklin].  Cram’s Sectional Map of Dakota Drawn & Engraved from the Latest Government Surveys by George F. Cram Proprietor of the Western Map Depot. 262-264. Wabash Ave. Chicago, Ills. 1881 [ad at lower left]:  Agents Wanted, in Every State throughout the West to Sell Cram’s Great Reversible Map of the United States and World New and Ornamental State Maps, Religious and Political Charts, Lithograph Pictures, Steel Engravings, Photographs, &c. All Men out of Employment Will Find it to their Advantage to Send for My Circulars and See Inducements to Agents.  Address, George F. Cram, Proprietor of the Western Map and Picture Depot.... Chicago:  George F. Cram, 1881.  Lithograph map on bank note paper, full and outline coloring in shades of pink and green. Neat line to neat line:  96.7 x 70 cm.  Folded in original brown blind-embossed and gilt-lettered cloth pocket folder (13.5 x 8.5 cm), publisher’s printed broadside (County Census in Dakota) on inside upper cover. Pocket folder slightly faded, otherwise fine.  Map with a few old ink spots on verso, otherwise very fine and crisp.  A few contemporary notations on map.

     First edition?  Another edition came out in 1882 (earlier Cram maps of Dakota were smaller in format). Not in Phillips.  The Great Dakota Boom (1878-1887) spawned a flurry of Dakota maps, which prompted one historian to remark that such maps were “dotted with place-names cast into the limbo of ghost towns with the passage of time... The Great Dakota Boom was said to have generated more paper railroads than real ones” (Herbert S. Schell, History of South Dakota, University of Nebraska Press, 1968, p. 167).  Few of the separately issued maps like this extravagant creation survive.  This map is a transitional map between Dakota Territory and statehood, at a time when the region was in the midst of conflicting demands, only recently being somewhat secured by a sparse network of military posts.  Speculators, traders, freighters, and demagogues stridently pressed for the inexorable westward march of Anglo settlement in the festering aftermath of regional Native American uprisings, restlessness, disorganization, and the relentless vice of the farming, ranching, and mining interests versus the buffalo range and a disappearing way of Native American life rapidly transitioning to reservations.  During the mid-1880s, there was a movement for statehood and to split Dakota Territory into North and South Dakota, which was not achieved until 1889.

     The present map shows most of the clusters of development along the eastern sections, with the majority of the northwestern and southwestern counties still unsettled or surveyed.  The scale of this map is large and the detail excellent, showing routes, mines, settlements, reservations, forts, and “Territorial Highway” (from the Deadwood area to Bismarck, where it connected to the eastern segment of the Northern Pacific Railroad line which reached Bismarck in 1873). ($1,000-2,000)

Auction 19 Short Title List | Auction 19 Prices Realized

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