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October 26, 2007

From Sea to Sea by the Short Route

261. WILLIAMS, J[ohn] J[ay]. [Text] The Isthmus of Tehuantepec: Being the Results of a Survey for a Railroad to Connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Made by the Scientific Commission under the Direction of Major J. G. Barnard, U.S. Engineers. With a Résumé of the Geology, Climate, Local Geography, Productive Industry, Fauna and Flora, of that Region... Arranged and Prepared for the Tehuantepec Railroad Company of New Orleans, by J. J. Williams, Principal Assistant Engineer. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 200 Broadway, 1852. 295 [1 blank] pp. (errata slip bound in between pages 294 and 295), folded lithograph map of the world, folding diagram (thermal curves), plan, 14 tinted lithograph plates on tinted grounds (views of Tehuantepec and tortilla makers) by Sarony & Major of New York. [Atlas] Maps Illustrating the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 200 Broadway, 1852. [4] pp., 8 large folded lithograph maps (most by Barnard): [1] Map of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec....; [2] 1851 Tehuantepec Survey...; [3] Sketch of the Mouth of the Coatzacoalcos River 1847...; [4] Tehuantepec Survey...1851 (with insets of two villages, including Minatitlan); [5] Mouth of the Coatzacoalcos River...1848...; [6] Map of the ports of Laventosa and Salina Cruz...1852 (by Trastour); [7] Plan of that part of the Isthmus of Tehauntepec between the Jaltepec River and Pacific Plains....; [8] Chart of the Entrance and Channel of the Boca-Barra...1850 (by Trastour). 2 vols., 8vo (23.5 x 16 cm), original blind-stamped cloth, gilt letter (text in brown cloth; atlas in slate blue cloth). Text vol. binding worn and chipped at extremities, minor scattered light foxing. Atlas vol. lightly worn and one small split on spine, the maps very fine. The work is seldom found complete with text and atlas.

            First edition. Hill (first edition), pp. 327-328: “This book was published to inform the American public of the advantages to be gained by an inter-ocean link built across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, west of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The first part of the book reviews the engineering and hydrographic reports of the survey group, and is a general summary of practicability; the second part deals with the natural history, the inhabitants and the natural resources of the region.” Hopkins Railway Library, p. 26. Mayer, Poblaciones mexicanas, planos y panoramas, siglos XVI al XIX, p. 309 (illustrated). Palau 375712. Porrúa (1949) 8303. Sabin 3480.

            The attractive lithographic plates by Sarony depict people, scenes and buildings in Minatitlan, Ishuatlan, and other points in the region. The plates were extensively “borrowed” by others who subsequently wrote on Tehuantepec. John Gross Barnard had a distinguished career as a military engineer and was responsible for the construction of fortifications at strategic points on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts. ($500-1,000)

Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $587.50

Auction 21 Abstracts

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