“An Elaborate Landselling Advertisement”

With Important Maps of Colorado in 1869

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40. BLACKMORE, William [Henry]. Colorado: Its Resources, Parks, and Prospects as a New Field for Emigration; With an Account of the Trenchara and Costilla Estates, in the San Luis Park. London: Sampson, Low, Son, and Marston, 188, Fleet Street, English and Foreign, American and Colonial Booksellers; [printer’s slug on title verso] London: Printed by Ranken and Co., Drury House, St. Mary-Le-Strand, 1869. [2], [1-5] 6-217 [1, blank] pp., frontispiece (mounted oval albumen bust portrait of Governor William Gilpin), 3 lithograph maps with original hand coloring (see list below). 4to (28 x 22.5 cm), original blind-embossed dark green pebble cloth, title in gilt on upper cover and spine. Spinal extremities slightly tattered, corners of binding slightly bumped, a few abraded areas to binding, front hinge slightly cracked (but strong), interior and maps very fine save for mild foxing to endpapers and maps. Photograph of Governor Gilpin slightly faded (as usual) and mounting lightly foxed. Pictorial book plate on front free endpaper (Iohannis Evars) and with the ink manuscript signature of Henry A. James dated 1890.


[1] Map of the United States Showing the Proposed Railroad Routes to the Pacific Ocean 1869. Neat line to neat line: 40.1 x 67 cm; overall sheet size: 52 x 73 cm. Two sections of map extend above top neat line. Coloring emphasizes Colorado in maize and yellow; San Luis Park in pink and green, rail lines outlined in black, red, and blue.

[2] Map of Colorado Embracing the Central Gold Region. Drawn by Frederick J. Ebert under direction of the Governor Wm. Gilpin. 1869 [below neat line at lower right] Drawn by C.W. Bacon & Co. 127 Strand.Neat line to neat line: 46.5 x 65.5 cm; overall sheet size: 52 x 73 cm. San Luis Park in bright pink and green; Union Pacific routes in rose and blue.

[3] Map of the Trenchara and Costilla Estates forming the Sangre de Christo Grant Situate in San Luis Valley Colorado Territory [above neat line at lower right] Witherby & Co. Litho. Birchin Lane. Neat line to neat line: 58.3 x 45.5 cm; overall sheet size: 65 x 51 cm. Trenchard Estate outlined in green; Costilla Estate colored in rose.

     First trade edition. Two editions of this book were published in the same year, a private edition in two volumes with a different collation (from Denver Public Library copy: 3 p. l., [5]-55 p., 3 l., 16, 1*-16*, 17-133 p.), and a trade edition by Sampson, Low, as here. The number of maps and photographs varies, not only between the two editions, but also from copy to copy, as evidenced by Denver Public Library holdings. DPL has two copies of the private edition (one with only the three maps, and another with three maps and twelve photos). Of the Sampson, Low edition, DPL owns three copies, with varying numbers of photos and maps in each copy. In general, as many as three maps can be found in either edition; the number of photos varies from zero to twelve. William Reese (Catalogue 256:14) offered a copy of the private edition with three maps and twelve photos at $12,500 commenting: “The present copy contains more photographs than any other copy we have handled or can trace, making it a great rarity.” Adams, Herd 272 (Sampson, Low edition, calling for one photo and two maps). Allibone, Critical Dictionary of English Literature & British And American Authors, p. 154. Bradford 399 (Sampson, Low edition, two photos, three maps). Graff 318 (Sampson, Low edition, five photos, three maps): “Elaborate land-selling advertisement.” Howes C607 (Sampson, Low edition with five photos and three maps; private edition with three maps). Margolis & Sandweiss, To Delight the Eye 2 (noting that the number of photos varies). Sabin 14735 (private edition, three maps). Wilcox, pp. 15-16 (entry 27 is for the private edition with three maps, and entry 28 is for the Sampson, Low edition with one photo and three maps; reproduced are the title pages to both editions). Wilcox comments on the trade edition: “The two sections of the trade edition are reversed in sequence; and a portrait of Gov. William Gilpin, a dedication to Gov. Gilpin, and a preface are added; but the text is printed from the same type with pages renumbered.” Wynar 2025 (Sampson, Low edition, with a vague aside to a private edition and no specifics on number of photos and maps).

     This elaborate promotional work was published to coincide with the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which opened the central United States to prospective immigrants. English entrepreneur William Blackmore (1827-1878) is an overlooked figure in Western history. He was a friend of George Catlin, Richard Dodge, Ferdinand Hayden, Thomas Moran, William H. Jackson, Henry Carrington, and other leading men of the West. In addition to being a land speculator and promoter, he also collected over two thousand photographs of the West for his museum in Salisbury, England. His extensive travels led him to the American West to investigate railroads, mining ventures, and prospective settlement and development, as are indicated in the present work. He was also a significant backer of the Hayden expedition to Yellowstone, with which he traveled. Eventually, he focused his development efforts on southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Unfortunately, the 1870 world recession took a heavy financial and emotional toll on Blackmore. When Blackmore’s business venture finally collapsed, he committed suicide.

     The maps in this work are not listed by Phillips (America) or Wheat. The first map (Map of Colorado Embracing the Central Gold Region) is a slapdash English photolithographic rehash of a Colton map and is not worthy of further comment, except to note that Colton sold the rights to many of his maps to English publishers during the Civil War to assuage the British appetite for details of the Great Conflict. The second map, however, is important and rare, being a reduced version of the exceedingly rare Ebert-Gilpin-Monk 1862 Map of Colorado Territory, Shewing the System of Parks, which Wheat (Mapping the Transmississippi West, Vol. V, p. 56 & #1040) describes as “the first ‘indigenous’ (Colorado) map of importance...a truly imposing map, a credit to all who had a hand in it.” Streeter states that the 1862 edition was the first separate map of Colorado. Wheat (#1118) records an 1865 edition, which Rumsey (3509) and Streeter (2164) document in pocket map format. See also Ellis, Colorado Mapology 40 & Phillips, America, p. 240. The only copy of the 1862 map we find at auction since 1976 is the Streeter copy, which resold in 1999 at $28,000. The 1865 edition of the map is represented in the auction records only by Streeter’s copy in 1968.

     The third map (Map of the Trenchara and Costilla Estates forming the Sangre de Christo) is not in Phillips, but is discussed in Nothing Is Long Ago: A Documentary History of Colorado 1776-1975 (p. 38): “This map shows the largest of those grants in Colorado that were later confirmed by the United States, the Sangre de Christo grant, comprising 1,000,000 acres in the San Luis Valley. The grant was made to Stephen Luis Lee and his 12-year-old nephew Narciso Beaubien in 1843. Narciso’s father, Carlos Beaubien, was already half owner of an adjoining 1,700,000 acres, later called the Maxwell Grant. Carlos came into possession of the Sangre de Christo grant after his son and brother-in-law were killed in the Taos revolt of 1847.”


Sold. Hammer: $2,800.00; Price Realized: $3,430.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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