Very Rare First Printing of the First Official Map of Texas as a State

On a Large Scale & Signed by De Cordova in Ink & with His Rubric

The Only of De Cordova’s Maps to Include Santa Fe County

“The most correct and authentic map of Texas ever complied” (Sam Houston)

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271. [MAP]. DE CORDOVA, J[acob Raphael] (publisher), Robert Creuzbaur (compiler], J[ohn] M. Atwood (lithographer). J. De Cordova’s Map of the State of Texas Compiled from the Records of the General Land Office of the State, by Robert Creuzbaur, Houston 1849. [below and left of title] Without my signature all copies of this map have been fraudulently obtained [original genuine signature with rubric, in ink by De Cordova] J. De Cordova [to left of title] Engraved by J.M. Atwood, New York. [above lower neat line at center] Entered according to Act of Congress on the 28th day of July 1848 by J. De Cordova, in the Clerk’s Office of the United States District Court for the District of Texas [untitled inset oval map at lower right showing Texas in full color; Indian Territory outlined in orange; Missouri outlined in blue; Arkansas outlined in yellow; Louisiana outlined in pink; New Mexico in full pink wash without the name New Mexico, implying it is part of Texas; border between California and Mexico in green and pink, with California stretching to Great Salt Lake; Mexico shown from Loreto, Baja California, and Durango] [table at upper left indicating counties into which land districts fall] Reference to Land Districts [at lower left are seals of Texas and the Texas General Land Office along with certifications and facsimile signatures of Thomas J. Rusk, Sam Houston, David S. Kaufman, T. Pilsbury, John C. Hays, George T. Wood, W.D. Miller, Thomas W. Ward, George W. Smyth]. [Galveston, copyright; New York, printed], 1849. Lithograph map of Texas showing counties, cities, and towns, roads, rivers, Indian villages, on banknote paper with plain pale blue border (1.5 cm), original wash and outline color, neat line to neat line: 83 x 76 cm; border to border: 87 x 80 cm; overall sheet size: 89 x 82.5 cm; with original black leather pocket covers (15.5 x 11.6 cm), blind embossed and lettered in gilt on upper cover: J. De Cordova’s Map of Texas, front pastedown inside upper pocket cover reads: Errata. In Colouring:--The country and the forks of the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers, below Goliad County, is a part [of] Victoria, and not of Refugio, County. | In Colouring:--The country between Cedar Lake Bayou and Caney Bayou, below the mouth of Linville Bayou, is a part of Matagorda, and not of Brazoria County. | The line between Comal and Guadalupe Counties, East of the Guadalupe river, runs from the corner—now represented on the S.W. line of Hays County—to a point on the Guadalupe river, half way between Jacob and Isaac Creeks. | R. Creuzbaur. | Austin, 1849. A very fine, bright copy with excellent coloring; only minor stains at folds. Cordova’s signature fine and clear. Signed and dated by Army soldier on pastedown of pocket folder: “George M. Stewart U.S.A. 1849” with three of his small ink notes on map indicating place names: “Ft. Chadbourne” shown in both Bexar and Comal counties, the latter with a little flag; the other notation in Bexar County at Leona Spring (indecipherable). Handsome copy in modern wooden frame, float-mounted on natural muslin, and under Plexiglas. Although it is often stated that only two copies of the 1849 edition exist, that is not the case, though the 1849 map is exceedingly rare in commerce. The last copy offered at auction was the Siebert copy, which was not nearly so fine as the present copy. Few maps of Texas listed by Martin & Martin rival the rarity of this first printing of De Cordova’s map with his genuine signature, and in our opinion, the contenders would be Galli’s 1826 Texas (M&M 28) and Robinson’s 1819 Map of Mexico, Louisiana, and the Missouri Territory (M&M 27), a copy of which we sold in our Auction 22.

     First printing of the first official map of Texas as a state, on a far larger scale than any previous map of the state of Texas, and the only of De Cordova’s editions of his Texas map to include the short-lived Santa Fe County, which comprised much of New Mexico. The certifications at left by Sam Houston and others includes this very truthful statement:

We, the undersigned, Senators and Representatives from the State of Texas, do hereby certify that we have carefully examined De Cordova’s map of the State of Texas, compiled by R. Creuzbaur from the records of the General Land Office of Texas and have no hesitation in saying that no map could surpass this in accuracy and fidelity. It has delineated upon it every county in the State, its towns, rivers, and streams and we cordially recommend it to every person who desires correct geographical information of our state. To persons desiring to visit Texas, it will be invaluable.

References: Basic Texas Books 38 (referring to the 1849 edition): “Sam Houston delivered a speech praising the map on the floor of the U.S. Senate...assert[ing] that it was `the most correct and authentic map of Texas ever compiled.’” Bryan & Hanak 23. Contours of Discovery, p. 57: “To meet the needs of new immigrants coming into the state, roads and rivers as well as the political divisions were carefully drawn.” Day, Maps of Texas (not listing this first edition, but see pp. 55, 61, 87, 152 for editions respectively of 1851, 1856, 1866, 1872). Eberstadt, Texas 162:241 (1850 edition): “An important and authentic map—possibly the finest of the period.” Fifty Texas Rarities 36: “Only nineteen years separate this map and Stephen F. Austin’s, yet the contrast between the two is striking. During those years, Texas had been a part of Mexico, an independent republic, and a state of the United States.” Graff 920. Martin, “United States Army Mapping in Texas, 1848-1850” in The Mapping of the American Southwest, p. 39. Martin & Martin, Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900, Color frontispiece, Plate 39 & p. 39 & pp. 140-141. Phillips, America, p. 844. Rumsey 3366 (1856) & 4801 (1867).

     Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library, p. 15 & 295A. Taliaferro selects De Cordova’s map as one of the eight most noteworthy maps of Texas:

[Introduction] Important to Texas geography as a whole...providing a valuable record of the social and political evolution of the state during the crucial years when much of its territory was first settled by a population of European origin... [Entry 295A] Jacob de Cordova came to Texas in 1837 and quickly became one of the new republic’s most active promoters. He was responsible for a number influential pamphlets and guidebooks. Hoping to cash in on the expected land boom following the Mexican War, De Cordova commissioned Robert Creuzbaur, an employee of the Texas General Land Office, to compile this map from that agency’s records. The result is a very accurate and detailed map. Creuzbaur followed Austin’s format and used an inset to show the western part of the state. The inset on the 1849 issue is of particular interest, since it shows the short-lived Santa Fe County. The Texas legislature had created the county in March, 1848, in a vain attempt to keep alive the state’s claim to New Mexico.

     Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, oval illustrated following p. 64, #603:

With an oval insert taking in surrounding territory. Texas is shown with a colored area to the west and northwest, including the enlarged northern panhandle of Texas and the whole of New Mexico to the continental divide. West of that is California.

     Martin & Martin, p. 39 & p. 141:

Perhaps the first large scale map of the state to be based on cadastral surveys.... One of the first major cartographic productions after annexation to be based upon the records of the General Land Office. With the political geography of the state changing almost daily, the map became an important document for immigration into Texas, particularly since the recent termination of the war with Mexico had permanently secured the Texas boundary. De Cordova’s map illustrated the full extent of the Texas claim by the inclusion of the inset map, which defined the Texas boundary prior to the Compromise of 1850.... The recordkeeping facilities of the General Land Office coupled with secure borders meant the beginning of a new chapter in the history of land in the state. Although Texas relinquished its claim to some of the lands of the upper Rio Grande in favor of a cash payment of ten million dollars, she retained ownership of all her public lands, which set her apart from most of the other states in the union, and guaranteed a bright future for her economy.

     Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, pp. 459-460:

An early commercial portrayal of Texas following its accession by the United States is J. De Cordova’s Map of the State of Texas.... De Cordova’s [1849] map carries the signed endorsement of four Texas senators and representatives and the commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. Robert Creuzbaur was official draftsman for the land office. The map was, however, copyrighted by De Cordova and published as an accompaniment to his book The State of Texas; Her Capabilities and Her resources, which was published in Galveston. Below the map’s title cartouche is De Cordova’s statement that ‘without my signature all copies of this map have been fraudulently obtained.’ Editions of De Cordova’s map were also published in 1850, 1851, 1853, 1856, and 1857. The 1856 and 1857 editions were published by J.H. Colton & Company and carry the note “Revised and Corrected by Charles W. Pressler.”

     Jacob Raphael De Cordova (1808-1868), a Jamaican native, came to Texas by way of Philadelphia after his health was damaged by the severe northern winters. Once in Texas, he became the most enthusiastic and best-known promoter of the State since Stephen F. Austin, even travelling back East to give lectures about the wonders of his newly found home. Not just a starry-eyed dreamer, however, he accumulated what was probably the largest amount of land scrip in private hands, at one point controlling about a million acres, which earned him the title of “Publicist of an Empire.” In addition to his real estate ventures, he was also active in civic, political, and fraternal affairs. He laid out Waco and sold land lots there. As Natalie Ornish points out, De Cordova’s land business was so successful that “it was a quasi-official immigration department of the Texas Government and became the largest land agency that ever operated in the Southwest” (Pioneer Jewish Texans, Dallas: Texas Heritage Press, 1989, p. 61). Ornish also comments: “Jacob Raphael De Cordova literally put Texas on a map” (p. 58). Ironically, De Cordova died debt-ridden.

     Handbook of Texas Online:

Robert Creuzbaur (?-?), surveyor and draftsman, was associated with the General Land Office of Texas as a mapmaker during the mid-1800s. He probably came to Texas in the mid-1840s. Two of his maps are of particular importance. In 1848 he was commissioned to compile topographic information for a map of Texas for Jacob de Cordova, a land promoter. Creuzbaur also made a map from notes compiled by John S. (Rip) Ford on his exploring expedition in 1849 showing the route from Austin to Paso del Norte. This map was published for emigrants, and it gave the distances from one water hole to another, as well as pertinent landmarks and detailed descriptions of the nature of the soil and terrain. This map is included in Creuzbaur’s Guide to California and the Pacific Ocean (1849). Creuzbaur also drew up a map of Austin in 1853. Sometime during the 1850s he married the daughter of Eli Kirk of Austin. In 1861 he invented the Sea King, a type of gunboat designed to fight Yankee blockaders. A joint committee from both houses of the Texas legislature appropriated $500 to enable Creuzbaur to present his plans to Confederate authorities in Richmond. After the Civil War he moved north and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where he was still living in 1899.

     Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 459: “John M., Atwood was born in Washington, D.C., in 1818 and was active as an engraver in New York City from 1838 to 1852.”


Sold. Hammer: $200,000.00; Price Realized: $245,000.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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