Dorothy Sloan -- Books


The Preferred State with the California Gold Washers

354.     [MAP]. RAPKIN, J[ohn Drew] (draftsman & engraver), John Tallis (publisher), et al. Mexico, California and Texas [below neat line] The Illustrations by H. Warren & Engraved by J. Rogers. | The London Printing and Publishing Company | The Map Drawn & Engraved by J. Rapkin [number at top right] 70 [three views] [1] The Ruins at Uxmal, Yucatan [2] Mexican Peasantry [3] Gold Washing. London, n.d. [ca. 1850-1851]. Steel-engraved map with contemporary hand coloring in wash and outline, The Newly Discovered Districts in California hand-colored in yellow, ornate botanical border with regional fruits and vegetables (cacti, gourds, pomegranates, agave, grapes, etc.), neat line to neat line: 21.9 x 30 cm; border to border: 25.2 x 32.7 cm; overall sheet size: 27 x 35.5 cm. Light marginal browning and blank corners slightly chipped (not visible from mat), map proper and border fine. Matted, maple frame, glazed.

     This is the preferred state, with the vignette of California gold washers, the Gold Region colored yellow, and the territory acquired by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo outlined in green (none of which appeared in the earlier state). A subsequent state of 1857 (Phillips, Atlases 822) has the colored border with Mexico altered to reflect the Gadsden Purchase, but that alteration is not shown in the present map. The map can be found with no printed number at top right, or numbered 70 (as here). The map appeared in a London edition of John Tallis’ Illustrated Atlas…edited by R. Montgomery Martin, Esq. Phillips, Atlases 804. Rumsey 466.072. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #694 (1850), #737 (1851). Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region #200: “This delicate and beautiful little map contains the legend ‘The Newly Discovered GOLD districts coloured thus [yellow cartouche]….’ The yellow strip purporting to denote the gold regions is merely a broad yellow line along the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers from the latitude of Mt. Shasta south to that of Kern Lake. The words ‘Gold Country’ are also engraved in the same general region.” Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 302.

     This highly decorative map presents the southwestern United States and all of Mexico. Texas is shown in its early statehood form with its western border at the Rio Grande to its source in Colorado. The Old Spanish Trail, indicated as the Great Caravan Route, extends from Santa Fe (in Texas) to “Pueblo de Los Angelos.” The Gulf Coast is shown eastward to Tallahassee, and the West includes lower California named in the still unsettled western region. The charming engraved illustrations are the work of J. Rogers and H. Warren. Contemporary map dealer Roderick Barron sums up Rapkin’s and Tallis’ decorative maps very well by commenting that they “reflect the glories of Britain’s world empire and provide a pastiche of images of far-flung corners of the world available for the first time to the Victorian armchair traveller.”