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Roessler Map of Texas—With Emphasis on Mining & Emigration

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359.     [MAP]. ROESSLER, A[nton] R. New Map of the State of Texas Prepared and Published for Albert Hanford’s Texas State Register for 1876 by A.R. Roessler, Civil and Mining Engineer 52 Beekman St. New York [below neat line] Ed. W. Welcke & Bro. Photo-Lithographers, 176 Williams St. N.Y. | Entered According to Act of Congress in the Year 1875 by A.R. Roessler in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington [inset table at lower left] Name of Station… [key at lower left with symbols for various minerals] Explanations… [inset colored map below left] Map of the Vicinity of Galveston City. [New York, 1875]. Lithograph map on bank note paper, full original color, neat line to neat line: 46.1 x 49.2 cm; overall sheet size 50 x 52.7 cm. Two clean, professionally repaired splits at folds (no losses), one small chip to blank left margin at juncture with book block, otherwise fine with excellent color retention. With the map is the guide in which the map appeared: Albert Hanford’s Texas State Register for 1876, and until July Fourth, the One Hundredth of the Independence of the United States. Galveston: Published by A. Hanford, 1876. [1-2] 3-144 pp., title with engraved illustration (State House, Austin), text illustrations (mostly in ads). 8vo (19.5 x 12.4 cm), original pictorial wrappers with illustration of lone star, bound in mid-twentieth-century black pebble cloth, title lettered in gilt on upper cover. Fragile wraps chipped and foxed (some losses to lower wrap), a few tape repairs at rear of volume. Book in fair condition only, but map very fine.

     Following the publication of Roessler’s large-format map of Texas in 1874 (Day, Maps of Texas, p. 90; Phillips, Maps of America, p. 847; Raines, p. 107; Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 349), at least three reduced-format versions appeared. The map was issued in 1875 in a rare official publication: Texas, Home for the Emigrant, from Everywhere, published by the Superintendent of Immigration of the State of Texas (Winkler 3661; the map in that publication measured approximately 37 x 41 cm). The present version appeared in Hanford’s Texas State Register and has an inset of Galveston (Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 352A; Winkler 3895). Another version was prepared for the 1877 edition of Burke’s Texas Almanac, map dated 1876, Galveston inset replaced by an illustration of “State House, Austin,” and approximately 44 x 49 cm (Day, Maps of Texas, pp. 93, 155; Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 352B; Winkler 3740). Other editions of Burke with the map exist (the map was an optional purchase with the Almanac; Winkler documents that the almanac with the map cost twenty-five cents extra). Taliaferro notes: “Roessler’s maps are the only printed maps that preserve the results of the Shumard survey, the state’s first geological and agricultural survey.”

     Roessler’s map and Hanford’s guide stimulated interest in emigration to Texas. The text of the guide includes Roessler’s essay “Some Account of the Mineral Wealth of Texas,” in which he declares: “Texas is, or will be, the wealthiest State in the Union, possessing as she does great agricultural capabilities, all the varieties of soils, minerals, and useful rocks known to exist in the world.” The maps of Roemer (see Item 358 preceding herein) and Roessler are the most important geological maps of Texas in the nineteenth-century.

     Hungarian Anton R. Roessler (1826-1893) was a notable cartographer, topographer, draftsman, geologist, real estate broker, mining prospector, self promoter, and “the most thorough and ideal crank of any age” (p. 156, Vasváry Collection Newsletter). His training, said to have been in Vienna, must have been rock solid, because Roessler became one of the best cartographers in Texas when he emigrated to Austin in 1860. In 1860-1861 Roessler served as draftsman, cartographer, and geologist for the Shumard Survey, the first in-depth geological and agricultural survey of Texas. Regrettably, the Shumard Survey derailed due to the exigencies of politics and the Civil War. Unlike some other members of the survey team, Roessler remained in Texas and served as chief draftsman of the Austin arsenal during the Texas Confederacy. Though later accused of plagiarism (and worse), which Roessler hotly contested, there is no doubt that he was responsible for preserving documentation on the 1858 Shumard Survey that otherwise would have been lost or destroyed when the geological survey rooms were converted into a Confederacy percussion-cap factory. Roessler was accused of stealing the Shumard survey data for private use in his mining and real estate ventures (the Texas Land and Copper Association and the Texas Land and Immigration Company of New York). In the late 1860s, Roessler worked as a geologist for the United States Land Office in Washington, D.C. In the 1870s he created sixteen county maps and at least three maps of Texas that bear his name. See Handbook of Texas Online: Anton R. Roessler and Keith Young, “The Roessler Maps,” Texas Journal of Science 17 (March 1965). Roessler’s incorporation of detailed documentation from the Shumard Survey into his maps make them the most reliable nineteenth-century record of agricultural and mineral wealth of the state.

     The present map shows counties in color, towns, roads, railroads, telegraph lines, military posts, physical features, Native American reservations in New Mexico and Indian Territory, and locations of mineral deposits (with illustrated key to types of minerals). The hotly disputed Greer County to the east of the Panhandle is still shown as part of Texas.


Sold. Hammer: $3,000.00; Price Realized: $3,600.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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