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October 26, 2007

Previously Unrecorded Issue of Mitchell’s Ever-Evolving Map Of Mexico, Yucatan & Upper California

107. [MAP]. MITCHELL, S[amuel] Augustus. Map of Mexico, including Yucatan & Upper California, Exhibiting the Chief Cities and Towns, the Principal Travelling Routes &c. Philadelphia: Published by S. Augustus Mitchell, N.E. Corner of Market and Seventh Sts. 1847. Entered according to the Act of Congress in the Year 1846 by S Augustus Mitchell, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. [inset plan at top right, 15.3 x 19.3 cm] The Late Battlefield. [flags marking battlefields of the Alamo, San Jacinto, Resaca de la Palma, Palo Alto, and Monterrey]. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1847 (copyright 1846). Lithograph map within decorative border on thin wove paper, original hand-coloring with bright rose outline coloring around Texas in its Emory conformation with greatly extended Panhandle, yellow border, pink shading to battle plan at top, Mexico in full color. Neat line to neat line: 44.1 x 64.1 cm. Creased where formerly folded, a few minor, clean splits at folds (no losses), general light overall foxing (primarily confined to lower left), overall fine with excellent color. Appears to be a separate with no evidence of ever having been folded into a pocket folder or an 8vo volume, nor evidence in margins of removal.

            Second edition, first issue(?). The present issue precedes Rumsey’s “1st 1847 issue” (Rumsey 3119). On Rumsey’s issue, the full name Ft. Towson is shown (intruding into lower left portion of the battlefield plan at top right) rather than simply “Ft.,” as here, as well as the following towns: Coahuila-Rosetta, Parras, St. Vicente, and St. Fernando; San Luis Potosí-Catorce; in Durango-Cerro Gordo; and Zacatecas-Sta. Catherina and Ojocaliente, none of which appear on the present issue. The first edition came out in 1846 and is easily identifiable because the copyright and imprint date both read 1846 (Streeter Sale 3868, Taliaferro 284); the very first issue is thought to have had the inset map at upper right uncolored.  The third edition (see next item herein, Rumsey 4594, Streeter 3869, Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 548, Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 35) was extensively revised, including: the addition of Map of the Principal Roads from Vera Cruz and Alvarado to the City of Mexico and profile below; reduction of the overall area shown to between approximately 86 and 120 degrees of longitude, thereby reducing the area by about seven degrees (here the area shown is between approximately 83 and 123 degrees of longitude); the reduction of the inset plan at top right; and the alteration of the title of the plan from The Late Battlefield to Battle Field of Monterey. Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War (p. 417) list an unspecified early issue. Various incarnations of this map have passed through our hands over the years, most of which exhibit yet more evidence of persistent revision and the likelihood of a plethora of cartobibliographical variances deserving full analysis and study.

            This map, a simplified, adapted version of Mitchell’s 1846 New Map of Texas, Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining (Wheat, Transmississippi West 254), is one of a series of popular maps cartographical publisher Mitchell began issuing when the beginning of the Mexican-American War. As soon as the conflict was underway, Mitchell saw that there would be a demand for maps detailing the events in this far-off corner of the continent, so he quickly came out with a folding map of Mexico with Texas shown with a red outline in its relative position, its panhandle extending to the 42nd parallel. The map was very much a war map, with topographical information kept to a minimum, but roads, towns, political divisions, and rivers clearly shown. Mitchell updated this map as news of events arrived, adding, for instance, flags indicating the sites of recent battles and other details such as rivers, towns, tribes, and Mayan ruins.

            At the time of publication, the Mitchell firm represented “the zenith of geographical publishing in Philadelphia” (Short, Representing the Republic, p. 155). ($6,000-12,000)

Sold. Hammer: $6,000.00; Price Realized: $7,050.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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