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“A Cartographic Landmark…Perhaps the first map that carefully displays the Llano Estacado or Staked Plains of Texas”


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302.     [MAP]. GREGG, Josiah. A Map of the Indian Territory Northern Texas and New Mexico Showing the Great Western Prairies by Josiah Gregg [below neat line at lower left] Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1844 by Sidney E. Morse and Samuel Breese in the Clerks Office of the Southern District New York [key with symbols at lower left] Explanation Towns… Villages… Smaller Villages & Ranches… Indian Villages… Forts & Trading Posts… Camp Springs Ruins, etc…. Observations of Latitude… Sandy Regions…. [New York, 1844]. Cerographic engraved map of the western territory stretching from the borders of Arkansas and Missouri to the Southern Rocky Mountains, printed on thin, semi-translucent paper with printed green-line underlay, 31 x 38 cm (the map extends beyond neat line at upper right and center left); overall sheet size: 35.7 x 40.6 cm). A few tears professionally repaired (no losses), otherwise fine.

     First printing. This map was published in Josiah Gregg’s Commerce of the Prairies… (New York: Langley, 1844). References to Gregg’s book: Graff 1659. Howes G401. Plains & Rockies IV:108:1. Raines, p. 99. Rittenhouse 255. Streeter, Texas, p. 328 (citing the book as one of the most important for a Texas collection) & 1502. Map references: John L. Allen, “Patterns of Promise” in Mapping the North American Plains, p. 51 & Fig. 3.7): “Conveying the impression of a well-populated region, the map must have whetted the interest of prospective traders on the trail to New Mexico. Finally, in a concession to geographic reality, Gregg mapped for the first time the Llano Estacado…. A blend of optimism and reality, Gregg’s map was certainly one of the best of the southern plains before the Mexican War.” Rumsey 2351 (from the first London edition of Gregg, 1844, but same map). Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #482 & Vol. II, opposite p. 181 (illustrated) & pp. 186-188 (text):

Gregg’s map was a cartographic landmark. Of it Lieutenant Warren remarked (Memoir, pp. 43-44), “It is based on the map of Humboldt’s New Spain, that of Major Long’s first expedition, and that of the road survey of J.C. Brown along the Santa Fe trail, with such corrections as Mr. Gregg’s own observations suggests. It was one of the most useful maps of this region at that day”…. This map is perhaps the first that carefully displays the Llano Estacado or Staked Plains of Texas…. From all viewpoints Gregg’s map was an outstanding achievement.

     The map is also important for the printing method used, cerography, a wax engraving medium introduced by Morse and Breese, the makers of this map. Cerography produced a hard, durable plate that could be used in the new steam-powered presses, but which could also be easily corrected and amended. The adoption and perfection of the wax-engraving process as a production technique had enormous influence in cartographic history, marking the transition between maps meant to be saved and used over a period of time and modern “disposable” mass-produced maps. Cerography characterized American cartography for the next century. See Judith A. Tyner, “Images of the Southwest in Nineteenth-Century American Atlases” (p. 70) in Reinhartz & Colley (editors), The Mapping of the American Southwest. See also Item 345 herein.


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

Auction 22 Abstracts

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