Dorothy Sloan -- Books

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October 26, 2007

Oversize Colton Pocket Map of the United States
Exceptional Condition

82. [MAP]. COLTON, G[eorge] W[oolworth] & C[harles] B. Colton’s Map of the United States of America, the British Provinces, Mexico and the West Indies. Showing the Country from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Published by G. W. and C. B. Colton, & Co. 172 William St. New York. 1869 [inset map at middle right] The Eastern Portion of the West India Islands, on the Same Scale as the Main Map. New York, 1869. Lithograph map on two sheets, original full color, some country borders (including U.S.-Mexico) in bright rose, seas in palest blue wash. Neat line to neat line: 94 x 110 cm. Folded into original dark brown embossed and gilt-lettered cloth covers (20 x 10.2 cm) , upper cover lettered gilt (Colton's Map of the United States, Mexico, Central American, West Indies, &c. G. W. & C. B. Colton & Co.), on pastedown is printed ad for Sheble, Smith & Co. (Successors to R. L. Barnes.) Map Publishers, No. 27 South Sixth Street, Phila. Map expertly backed with archival paper, minor browning along a few folds, a few small splits, but no losses, otherwise exceptionally fine. Pocket covers expertly rebacked with new sympathetic cloth spine, upper right corner lightly bumped, otherwise covers very good. Overall fine, the coloring exceptionally beautiful with the subtle pale blue wash in the seas. A rare survival, especially in fine condition.

            Not in Phillips. This rare, magnificent map is a worthy successor in the long line of the Colton’s United States maps issued under the present title, which stretch back to the 1840s. For the early version of the map, see: Ristow p. 318 (1846 edition). Karrow 1-1556 (1847 edition). Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, #533 & Vol. 3, pp. 46-47: “This was a progenitor of numerous maps, and came out almost every year with changes in the West, showing important new elements.” This is a separately issued map, not to be confused with Colton’s reduced versions of United States maps in the Colton atlases.

            The present map was created shortly after Joseph Hutchins Colton’s sons, George W. and Charles B. Colton, took over the map enterprise in 1865. The Colton firm was one of the leading mapmakers of the day, producing excellent, detailed maps like the present one, based on the most up-to-date and reliable sources. Here the map shows a country reunited after the Civil War and rapidly progressing into the Transmississippi West, anchored by a bustling and prosperous eastern half. The crucial railroads, such as the Atlantic & Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Northern Pacific, are shown stretching from the Mississippi River to the West Coast. Although West Texas is basically unoccupied beyond the Colorado River, California is clearly filling up, as are Oregon and Washington. Intervening states also show the affects of Western mapping explorations and increasing settlement. Densely populated areas generally stop along a line extending from Louisiana to Minnesota, but Eastern Nebraska and Kansas show the effects of rapidly expanding populations. Because of its large scale, the map is wonderfully detailed and shows many physical features, such as mountains, small streams, major roads, and geological features such as springs. ($2,500-5,000)

Auction 21 Abstracts

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