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First Geological Map of Texas


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358.     [MAP]. ROEMER, Ferd[inand]. Topographisch-geognostische Karte von Texas mit Zugrundelegung der geographischen Karte v. Wilson nach eigenen Beobachtungen bearbeitet von Dr. Ferd. Roemer. Bonn bei Adolph Marcus. [below neat line at lower right] Lith. von Henry & Cohen in Bonn. [color key at lower right] Farbenerklärung. Bonn, [1849]. Lithograph map with geological formations in original hand coloring (rose, blue, and green), neat line to neat line: 55.2 x 48.4 cm; overall sheet size: 59.7 x 51.4 cm (blank margins unevenly trimmed). Creased where formerly folded, blank margins slightly darkened and with a few minor chips not affecting neat line or image. Very good to fine. Matted, under Plexiglas, and in maple frame.

     First edition of the first printed geological map of Texas, a monument of Texas cartographic history, and fundamental to any Texas map collection. In some respects Roemer’s map has never been surpassed. Day, Maps of Texas, p. 51. The map appeared in Roemer’s book: Texas. Mit besonderer Rucksicht auf deutsche Auswanderung und die physichen Verhältnisse des Landes… (Bonn: Adolph Marcus, 1849). References to book: Basic Texas Books 179. Dobie, p. 52. Dykes, Western High Spots (“Western Movement—Its Literature”), p. 13. Eberstadt, Texas 162:691. Graff 3549: “First geological map of Texas.” Howes R407: “Roemer was the father of Texas geology…. First geological map of the state.” Raines, p. 177. Sabin 72593. Siebert Sale 958. Vandale 144.

     On Roemer, see Handbook of Texas Online: Ferdinand Roemer. Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.). Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. XI, p. 500-501: “In the spring of 1845 Roemer went to the United States on behalf of the Society for the Protection of German Emigrants. He spent most of his time in Texas, where he remained until April 1847. His vividly written accounts of his travels comprised a pioneering study on the physiography of Texas, together with a report on the society and culture of its inhabitants, remarks on political and economic conditions and a short, clear description of the geology of the region.”

     Roemer (1818-1891) is justly celebrated as the father of Texas geology, a title with which the publication of this map and his book endowed him. With a doctorate in paleontology from Berlin, he was well qualified to examine Texas geology when he arrived in 1845 and spent the next eighteen months exploring the central part of the state on a trip sponsored by Alexander von Humboldt and the Berlin Academy. After his return to Germany and the publication of his book, he pursued a career as an academic and as a professional paleontologist.

     Roemer identifies various strata by color, indicating geologic composition and age. This data is superimposed on an excellent topographical map. But Roemer’s map is not confined only to geological data. Roemer delineates the transportation system in Texas at that time, showing many towns, settlements, forts, ferries, etc. Botanical interest is found in Roemer’s presentation, such as his meaningful stylized figures for trees in the Cross Timbers. Richard V. Francaviglia, The Cast Iron Forest (Austin: University of Texas, 2000, p. 8) point outs that Roemer had different symbols for oak and pine (or cedar) trees, for instance. Francavigilia observes that Roemer’s map was influenced by T.D. Wilson’s 1845 New and Correct Map of Texas (Martin & Martin, p. 133), but only as a starting point to further refine and expand.


Sold. Hammer: $8,000.00; Price Realized: $9,600.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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