Excellent Copy of Colton’s Guide through the Rapidly Changing United States

With the Fine, Oversize, Brilliantly Colored Map

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401. [MAP & GUIDE]. COLTON, J[oseph] H[utchins]. Colton’s Traveler and Tourist’s Route-Book through the United States of America and the Canadas: Containing the Routes and Distances on the Great Lines of Travel, by Railroads, Stage-Roads, Canals, Lakes and Rivers. Accompanied with a Large and Accurate Map. New York: Published by J.H. Colton, No. 86 Cedar-Street, 1851. [i-ii, blank] [iii-iv, title & copyright notice], [v] vi-xi [index to routes] [1, blank], 13-134, 1-16 (publishers’ catalogue), [2, publisher’s note, verso blank] pp., 2 lithograph maps with original color, the latter pasted as issued to lower pastedown (see list following]. 12mo (15.6 x 10.3 cm), original brown ribbed cloth, upper cover with elaborate gilt-embossed scene illustrated with train and steamboat within ornate botanical border and title in gilt (repeated in blind on lower cover). End leaves and first and last leaves moderately foxed, remainder of text with only occasional light foxing, both maps very fine with brilliant original color. Contemporary pencilled ownership inscription on front free endpaper of P. P. Markham, Burlington, Vermont. Overall an excellent copy, given the hard use of such guides.


[1]       The Rail Road Routes between New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington. Lithograph map on banknote paper, original outline color. Neat line to neat line: 11.4 x 6.3 cm; sheet size: 14.8 x 8.5 cm. The routes are shown in two separate columns. Very fine. Frontispiece map.

[2]       Colton’s Map of the United States, The Canadas &c. Showing the Rail Roads, Canals & Stage Roads: With Distances from Place to Place. Published by J.H. Colton No. 86 Cedar St., New York, 1851. [inset map at lower right] Map of New England and Eastern New York. [inset map above preceding inset] Map of the United States, Central America &c. [inset map above preceding inset] The Isthmus of Panama Showing the Routes of Travel between Chagres & Panama. Lithograph map on banknote paper with elaborate floral botanical border, original bright outline coloring, border shaded pale yellow. Border to border: 64.5 x 77.5 cm; overall sheet size: 67.5 x 80.5 cm. Other than a few clean splits at folds (no losses), an exceptionally fine copy of a map difficult to find in acceptable condition. Texas is shown from slightly east of the Panhandle to Corpus Christi.

            Second edition (the first edition was the prior year, and the guide went through many subsequent editions). Howes C623: “Includes material on California, Oregon, and Texas, with overland routes, etc.” Phillips, America 906 (1857 edition). Rumsey 172 (1852 edition, modern cloth covers, no text). Sabin 14793 (present edition).

            Routes by steamboat and stage within Texas and beyond are on pp. 88-89. Many of the other states include routes to Texas. Routes for Oregon, California, New Mexico, and Utah are included. Two of the inset maps relate to the California Gold Rush: the upper inset of the proposed line of the Panama Railroad; and the inset of the U.S. showing the gold regions in California and the two overland routes from Independence, the northern route going to San Francisco via Salt Lake City, and the southern route going to San Diego via Santa Fe. No wonder Colton was such a successful entrepreneur. It would be difficult to find a better, more complete guide for a rapidly changing nation on the move, with its detailed information on the various modes of travel, routes, mileage, and most of all, the gorgeous oversize map. Never missing an opportunity to advertise the firm, Colton includes a lengthy catalogue of the firm’s publications (which is useful even now for cartobibliographical research), advertising this publication at $1.00 (p. 11). Colton notes that their firm handles the maps of other firms, and even offers to mount and varnish maps “in the best style.”


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $918.75.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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