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October 26, 2007

The Way to Get to the Gold
Very Rare Pocket Map

72. [MAP]. ATWOOD, J[ohn] M. Map of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the West India Islands with a Portion of Venezuela & New Granada; Showing the Routes Overland and by the Isthmus to California & Oregon, Also the New Boundaries of California, Utah, & New Mexico. Compiled from the Latest Authorities, Engraved & Published By J. M. Atwood, No. 19 Beekman Street, New York. 1851. D. Mc.Lellan, Printr. Spruce St. cor. of William St. Entered According to Act of Congress, in the Year 1851, by J. M. Atwood, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York. [table at lower center] Table of Distances. New York, 1851. Lithograph map on bank note paper, original full hand color, ornate oak leaf and acorn border with corner vignettes of agricultural and wharf-side scenes, border to border: 51.5 x 60.7 cm. Folded into original dark green blind-embossed cloth covers (14.3 x 9 cm), lettered in gilt on upper cover (Map of the United-States Canada, Mexico Central America and the West India Islands). Gilt lettering on pocket covers slightly faded, gutter margin slightly deteriorated, tiny nicks to corners, but generally the covers are very good. Map with small separations at a few folds (one with minor loss), top blank margins slightly wrinkled (not affecting images), a few light stains along folds.

            First edition. Rumsey 2365: “Shows the Gold Regions in California. Atwood made important maps of the Gold Rush for Colton and Ensign & Thayer in 1849. In this map he publishes his own Gold Rush map, showing the routes to California and Oregon. This map is rare: it is not in Phillips, Karrow, Wheat, Streeter, Graff.... Wheat Gold 258 is an 1854 derivative of this map put out by Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning. This 1851 map is very well done, and possibly the only map that Atwood published under his own name.”

            This beautifully executed map shows the overland and sea routes from the East Coast and Midwest to the West Coast. On the East Coast, the chief ports of departure are New York, Charleston, and Savannah; in the Gulf of Mexico, the only port shown is New Orleans. Of course, all routes, including those from Europe, lead to Panama for the sea voyage to the West Coast. On land, routes are shown from Council Bluff, Independence, and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The new borders Atwood depicts show Mexico intruding north all the way to the Gila River, reflecting a pre-Gadsden border.

            Although Atwood (born ca. 1818) was a prolific engraver and mapmaker who worked for many of the major map publishers (especially Colton), it appears that he rarely issued material under his own imprint. According to Tooley, he was active between 1840-1883. In addition to the many maps he created for Colton, his maps may be found in Ensign & Thayer’s guides and productions (including Phelps’s National Map of the United States), atlases (including that to accompany Chambers’ Encyclopaedia), etc. His work was of such a quality that Jacob De Cordova engaged him to execute his epochal map of Texas (q.v.).

            Except for a handful of copies in institutional collections, this map seems to be quite rare. ($4,000-8,000)

Sold. Hammer: $4,000.00; Price Realized: $4,700.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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