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“An emigrants’ guide, a defense of the revolution & a spur to annexation”

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220.     HOLLEY, Mary [Phelps] Austin. Texas. Lexington, Ky.: J. Clarke & Co., 1836. [2], viii, 410 pp., engraved folding map on bank note paper, original full and outline hand-coloring: Map of the State of Coahuila and Texas. W. Hooker Sculpt., overall: 26.8 x 33.1 cm. 12mo (18.5 x 11.2 cm), original brown muslin. Expertly re-backed with sympathetic spine, new paper spine label, and new rear flyleaf. Original cloth faded and worn; corners bumped. The map is from another copy; the upper right corner is in expert facsimile (8 x 6 cm & not affecting Texas portion of map), along with portions of the neat line which have been trimmed. A few short splits and minor voids to map expertly repaired and infilled. Four old wax attachment stains on verso. Uniform light browning to text and some minor marginal pencil markings. Old pencil notes on rear flyleaf; front pastedown darkened where old book label was removed.

     First edition. Basic Texas Books 94: “An entirely different book from Mrs. Holley’s 1833 volume, this contains a great deal more information on Texas history, geography, and society.” Bradford 2349. Clark, Old South III:56n. Eberstadt, Texas 162:397. Fifty Texas Rarities 15. Graff 1935. Howell 52:49. Howes H593. Jones, Adventures in Americana (Check List) 984. Rader 1911. Raines, p. 116. Sabin 3252. Sibley, Travelers in Texas 1761-1860, pp. 178-179: “Mary Austin Holley opened the great era of travel literature in Texas with Texas: Observations, Historical, Geographical and Descriptive. Her books are standard sources for the later Mexican period because they are based on the writer’s observations and information obtained from her cousin, Stephen Fuller Austin.” Streeter 1207. Vandale 88.

     Mrs. Holley dedicates her classic book, among the most influential early books on Texas, to her cousin: “GEN. STEPHEN FULLER AUSTIN, Truly the Genius of Texas—the HERO, the PATRIOT, the BENEFACTOR, the just man, in each and every character above praisethis new work on Texas, with equal pride and pleasure, is dedicated.” The book contains early printings of official documents and reports of the newly forming Republic (e.g., the first appearance in a book of Sam Houston’s official report of the Battle of San Jacinto). Streeter preferred Holley’s 1833 book (the first book ever written in English about Texas), but Jenkins considered Holley’s 1836 book more important and influential, commenting (Basic Texas Books 94): “In addition to the San Jacinto reports, it includes the first book printing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, of the Republic of Texas Constitution, of Travis’ famous letter from the Alamo, of Austin’s Louisville Address of 1836, and other key documents of the revolution. It includes the full text of the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and translations of the colonization laws, as well as chapters on money and banking, the mails, trade, natural history, society and manners, religion and Indians. It includes the best physical description of Texas up to that time, and a clear and concise analysis of the colonization and land grant system and of Austin’s colonization activities.” The serious collector will aspire to both the 1833 and 1836 books.

     Mary Austin Holley (1784-1846), cousin of Stephen F. Austin, early Texas writer, and land speculator, writes in the midst of the fomenting Texas Revolution in a very compelling tone, e.g.: “Not only are events of stirring interest ‘treading on each others heels’ with the swiftness of phantasmagoria, but new local advantages, new facilities for the manifold operations of society, and new natural beauties, are constantly developing themselves to excite our wonder and delight.” This complimentary work on Texas surpasses even her 1833 work on the same subject, in this case being directed to the potential emigrant who might want to cast his or her lot with the newly liberated Republic of Texas. Although Holley does not know the ultimate outcome of the ongoing struggle, she says that all hope “for better things.” For more on Holley see: Handbook of Texas Online: Mary Austin Holley; and Notable American Women II, pp. 204-205:

In the summer of 1835, with the outbreak of the Texas Revolution imminent, Stephen Austin appealed to [Holley] to aid the cause by encouraging emigration from Kentucky and Tennessee. Her response was…designed to serve as an emigrants’ guide, a defense of the revolution, and a spur to annexation. It was Mrs. Holley’s particular hope that, with American settlement and annexation of Texas, the rising value of her extensive land holdings would pay off her debts and provide a measure of financial security…. But despite repeated trips to Texas in the late 1830s and 1840s she succeeded in realizing very little profit from her speculations. “It is truly in Texas, ‘Man never is but always to be—blest.’ You are put off—put off—forever,” she wrote despairingly. Finally, in 1845, she returned to Louisiana…. She succumbed to yellow fever in New Orleans a year later and was buried in the Donation Augustin family tomb in St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans.

     Hooker’s map is one of the outstanding features of this classic Texana. In addition to its presence in this work, the map appeared as a separate ca. 1833 (Streeter 1136), in Holley’s 1833 book entitled Texas: Observations, Historical, Geographical and Descriptive (Streeter 1135), and in A Visit to Texas (Streeter 1155 and Item 188 herein), with revisions to reflect the changing face of Texas. Martin & Martin (p. 32) observed: “In 1833, Austin’s cousin Mary Austin Holley produced a promotional tract on Texas which, because Tanner [publisher of Austin’s map] refused Austin permission to use his map for the purpose, was issued with an accompanying map by William Hooker, which was clearly based on Austin’s sources.” Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 241: “Hooker’s map is one of the earliest maps of Texas to show all of Texas to the Arkansas River, including the Panhandle.”

     Here Hooker’s map is in an early intermediate state, as opposed to its appearance in Holley’s 1833 book, where the map was uncolored and featured considerably less detail. The map is quite striking, with grants brilliantly colored and other additions. These include: Herds of Buffalo; new towns and settlements (Laredo, Columbia, Bell’s Lang., New Washington, C[ape] Bolivar, Cole’s Set., Dr. Cox’s Pte., Bastrop, Gonzales); new grants (Powers, De Leon, Beale and Grant, McMullen & McGloin’s, John Cameron, Padilla and Chambers, Beales and Rayuellas [correctly spelled, unlike Rayuelas as in Streeter 1136]); Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee tribes located in Arkansas Territory and Comanches in West Texas. Thorn’s grant is stamped “now Filisola” (rather than printed); the printed designation “Copano” has been overstruck and replaced with ink manuscript “Corpus Christi” and “Copano” in ink manuscript has been added farther north in “Powers Grant”; the words “Milam and” have been added to precede the printed designation “Wavel’s Grant”; “Washington” and “San Augustine” are added in ink. We have observed similar variations in all the copies of the map we have handled, leading to the conjecture that these edits were added by the publisher.


Sold. Hammer: $7,000.00; Price Realized: $8,400.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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