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October 26, 2007

Most Complete Version of Mitchell’s Mexican-American War Map

108. [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 accordg. to Act of Congress in the Year 1847 by S. Augustus Mitchell, in the Clerk’s Office of the Dist Court of the Eastern Dist of Pennsylv. [inset plan at top right, 15.1 x 16.4 cm] Battle Field of Monterey [inset map with Mexican eagle with principal road marked in red, profile below, together 36.8 x 60 cm] Map of the Principal Roads from Vera Cruz and Alvarado to the City of Mexico, Including the Valley of Mexico, Mountains, Plains, Volcanoes, Lakes, &c. Compiled from the Latest and Best Authorities. By Geo. Steale, Civil Engineer.... Profile of the Road between Mexico and Vera Cruz [table to right of profile showing altitude at which various crops flourish] , flags marking battlefields of the Alamo, San Jacinto, Resaca de la Palma, Palo Alto, Monterrey, Veracruz, and Cerro Gordo. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1847 (copyright 1847). Lithograph map within decorative border on bank note paper, original hand-coloring with bright rose outline coloring around Texas in its Emory conformation with greatly extended Panhandle, border yellow, pink shading to battle plan at top, Mexico in full color. Neat line to neat line: 82.5 x 60 cm. Folded into pocket covers (13.5 x 8.2 cm), original dark green roan, elaborate blind embossed on both covers, lettering in gilt on upper cover: MEXICO, printed leaf affixed to verso of upper cover: Extent and Population of Mexico. Minor losses along some folds which have been skillfully repaired, some minor spotting and light browning, minor rubbing to folder, but overall a fine copy with excellent color retention. With later pencil and ink stamp on printed leaf stating: “If lost, return to Donald Graff” (the last two words in ink stamp).

            Third edition, the issue with the battle plan at upper right entitled Battle Field of Monterey. The third edition was extensively revised, with the added Map of the Principal Roads from Vera Cruz and Alvarado to the City of Mexico and profile below, but showing only between approximately 8.6 and 12 degrees of latitude, thereby reducing the overall area shown by about two degrees. The inset plan at top right has also been reduced accordingly, and the title altered from The Late Battlefield to read Battle Field of Monterey. (A previous issue of the present version had the reduced scale but the former title; see Rumsey 4594.) In the present version, many place names have been added, as well as additional battle flags. The first issue is thought to have had the inset map at upper right uncolored. Rumsey 4594. Streeter Sale 3869. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 35. The first version came out in 1846 (Streeter Sale 3868, Taliaferro 284, and Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 548), followed by an edition in 1847 adding towns in Northern Mexico (Rumsey 3119). Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War, p. 417 (unspecified early issue). See preceding entry for an earlier issue of the second edition.

            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 to publish at the outbreak of the Mexican-American War. As soon as the conflict was under way, 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). ($7,500-15,000)

Sold. Hammer: $7,500.00; Price Realized: $8,812.50

Auction 21 Abstracts

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