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Zamorano Eighty

“A library of Western Americana is incomplete without it”


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177.     EMORY, W[illiam] H[elmsley]. Notes of a Military Reconnoissance, from Fort Leavenworth, in Missouri, to San Diego, in California, Including Part of the Arkansas, Del Norte, and Gila Rivers. By Lieut. Col. W.H. Emory. Made in 1846-7, with the Advanced Guard of the “Army of the West.” Washington: Wendell and Van Benthuysen, Printers, 1848. Senate Executive Document No. 7, 30th Congress, 1st Session. [1-3] 4-416 pp., 40 lithograph plates (26 views, Native Americans, and natural history by E. Weber + 12 botanicals by Endicott + 2 anonymous botanicals), text illustrations, 4 maps [see list of maps below]. 8vo (23.4 x 15 cm), modern dark brown textured cloth. Very fine except for a few splits and small tears to large folding map at end (no losses).


Sketch of the Actions Fought at San Pasqual in Upper California between the Americans and Mexicans Dec. 6th. & 7th. 1846. Sheet size: 22.5 x 13.8 cm.

Sketch of the Passage of the Rio San Gabriel Upper California by the Americans,—Discomfiting the Opposing Mexican Forces January 8th. 1847. Sheet size: 22.5 x 13.8 cm.

Sketch of the Battle of Los Angeles Upper California. Fought between the Americans and Mexicans Jany. 9th. 1847. Sheet size: 12.5 x 13.8 cm. The pueblo has only a few structures.

Military Reconnaissance of the Arkansas, Rio del Norte and Rio Gila by W.H. Emory, Lieut. Top. Engrs. Assisted from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe by Lieuts. J.W. Abert and W.G. Peck, and from Santa Fe to San Diego on the Pacific by Lieut. W.H. Warner and Mr. Norman Bestor, Made in 1846-7, with the Advance Guard of the “Army of the West”. Under Command of Brig. Gen. Stephn. W. Kearny Constructed under the Orders of Col. J.J. Abert Ch. Corps Top. Engrs. 1847 Drawn by Joseph Welch. 76.8 x 183.5 cm. California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present 26. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #544.

     First edition, the Senate issue, later printing with Emory’s rank given as “Lieut. Col.” rather than “Brevet Major” and the plates in the preferred state (executed by Edward Weber, many after drawings by John Mix Stanley). Although the Zamorano Eighty bibliography gives priority to the House issue, Becker lists the Senate issue first (Plains & Rockies IV:148:2). Barrett, Baja California 2751n. California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present 26 (Norman J.W. Thrower): “Emory’s map accurately tied the southwest from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Southern California together for the first time.” Cowan I, pp. 77-78n, 267-268n. Cowan II, p. 195. Edwards, Enduring Desert, p. 77: “Upon the discovery of gold, [Emory’s] Report became immediately popular, as it afforded the first and only description of the Southern route west to Santa Fe, supplying detailed information relative to watering places, roads, deserts, Indians, plant and animal life…. Some indication of how highly this book of Emory’s was prized by the gold seekers is unintentionally supplied by one of these self-same emigrants (John E. Durivage). While struggling across the treacherous desert, according to Durivage: ‘…not-withstanding we left every article we thought we could possibly dispense with at the Colorado, we deemed it necessary to make still further sacrifices. Away went a bag of beans; out tumbled a suit of clothes; Major Emory’s Report and a canister of powder followed suit; a case of surgical instruments followed; and a jar containing five pounds of quick-silver with a small bag of bullets brought up the rear.’”

     Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, pp. 157, 297-298, 424-425. Holliday Sale 344. Howell 50, California 76. Howes E145. Huntington Library, Zamorano Eighty…Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 33. Rittenhouse 188n. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #544: “In many respects, Emory’s map was the most important milestone in the cartographic development and accurate delineation of the Southwest. In its period only the similarly scientifically based reconnaissance maps of Frémont were its equals”; & III, pp. 6-8: “His map was epoch-making.” Zamorano Eighty 33 (J. Gregg Layne): “Emory’s report…is source material for the Southwest and the Mexican border. A library of Western Americana is incomplete without it.”

     McKelvey (Botanical Exploration of the Trans-Mississippi West) records an intricate array of more than twenty issues and variants of the Emory report that constitute a cataloguer’s nightmare or joy, depending on one’s point of view. More important than the myriad trivial issue points and the oft-discussed question of priority, here are the two important factors: [1] completeness, since frequently plates and maps are missing from the Emory report; [2] the state of the important plates—the preferred state of the plates of the Emory report should bear attribution to Weber. The matter of collecting preference is complicated by the fact that the House issue of the Emory report is augmented by the valuable reports of Abert and others, making both versions desirable—the Senate issue for the superior plates in Emory’s report, and the House issue for the added reports. Nothing is ever simple on the Emory report, because the augmented House issues vary as to execution of the New Mexico plates.

     The iconography and cartography in the Emory report are marvelous. Many of the excellent plates were based on the work of noted Western artist John Mix Stanley (1814-1872), who also served as artist for the northern route on the Pacific Railroad Survey. “[Stanley] is represented by more plates than any other artist employed in any of the surveys, and no early Western artist had more intimate knowledge by personal experience of the American West than did Stanley” (Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, p. 8). Tyler, Prints of the American West, pp. 77-80 (illustrating two prints from the Emory report): “Immediately following the [Mexican-American] War, pictures of the newly annexed territories appeared in dozens of different publications, and the government reports were among the most informative and beautifully printed. One of the first to appear was William H. Emory’s Notes of a Military Reconnoissance…which resulted from Col. Stephen Watts Kearny’s invasion of the Southwest…. Artist John Mix Stanley accompanied Kearny…. Emory’s report…contained not only his map of the largely unknown Southwest but also John Mix Stanley’s views…. [Edward] Weber [printed the lithographs] for the Senate version.” See also Schwartz & Ehrenberg (The Mapping of America, pp. 276, 278, discussing the iconography and cartography in the Emory report and illustrating one of the lithographs after Stanley’s drawings): “[Contains the] first view of the Southwest.”


Sold. Hammer: $600.00; Price Realized: $720.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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