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Ante-Fire Chicago Map

49. [MAP]. CRAM, Geo[rge] F[ranklin]. Cram’s Township & Rail Road Map of the North Western States [upper left] This Map is Engraved from Official Draughts of Each County, by Geo. F. Cram & Co. Proprietors of the Western Map Depot. Dealers in Maps, Charts, Lithographic Pictures Steel Engravings, Photographs, Stereoscopic Views &c. 148 Lake Street, Chicago Ills. 1869. Chicago, 1869. Lithograph map on bank note paper, original full color, outline color in bright red, ornamental border, two vignettes (hart at upper left and workers laying railroad track at lower right). Border to border: 90 x 68.6 cm. Creased where formerly folded, closely trimmed into margins, slightly darkened at a few folds, with minor losses and five-inch vertical fold separation at top (but no loss), overall very good and brightly colored. Very rare.

     First edition of one of the earliest Cram maps. Philips, America 918. Not in Check List of Chicago Ante-Fire Imprints 1851-1871. The lithographic stone for this map may have been destroyed in the 1871 Chicago fire. Cram published a revised, slightly larger version of the map in 1873/1874. The present map shows all of Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and parts of Michigan, Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota Territory. Published during Cram’s first year, this map is illustrative of both the nation’s western progress and Cram’s forthcoming prolific career as a cartographic publisher. As might be expected, the railroad system, both existing and proposed, is anchored on the east by Chicago, from which a spider web of rail lines project to the West. The most prominent of these, of course, is the Union Pacific route. The map is exceedingly detailed, showing township ranges, Native American reservations, streams, roads, and hundreds of small towns and communities. The states and territories at the far west of the map are obviously less well developed.

     G. F. Cram (1842-1928) began his prolific company in 1869, the year of this map. The early years of Cram’s professional life were generally devoted to single-sheet maps and pocket maps. By 1880, however, he began producing large numbers of popular commercial atlases, which constituted the bulk of his business until he sold his firm in 1920. ($1,500-3,000)

Sold. Hammer: $2,000.00; Price Realized: $2,350.00

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