The Young Republic Flexing Its Muscles Westward

U.S. History Condensed to a Big Patriotic Wall Map

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286. [MAP]. ENSIGN, T. & E.H. Ensign’s Travellers’ Guide and Map of the United States, Containing the Roads, Distances, Steam Boat and Canal Routes &c 1845. Published by T. & E.H. Ensign 1845 [below title] Engraved on Steel by J.W. Wells, Brooklyn, L.I. [below images at bottom] Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1840 by Phelps & Ensign in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Southern District in the State of New York [insets of scenes, maps, profiles, portraits, clockwise from top left] [1] A Comparative View of the Chief Rivers in the World...; [2] The World (double hemisphere); [3] A Comparative View of the Principal Mountains in the World...; [4] In Congress July 4th. 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America [facsimile of the Declaration with signatures plus cartoon rendition of the signing]; [5] George Washington...; [6] Thomas Jefferson...; [7] John Tyler...; [8] John Adams....; [9] James Madison...; [10] King Philip 1676 [portrait surrounded by large elaborate border of Native American artifacts]; [11] Landing of the Pilgrims Dec. 22nd. 1620; [12] Battle of Lexington April 19th. 1775; [13] Battle of Bunkers Hill June 17th. 1775; [14] Washington’s Farewell to His Army N.Y. Dec. 4 1783; [15] The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America July 4th. 1776; [16] James E. Polk... [surrounded by militaria]; [17] John Q. Adams...; [18] James Monroe...; [19] Wm. H. Harrison...; [20] Martin Van Buren...; [21] Andrew Jackson...; [22] South Part of Florida; [23] Vicinity of Charleston; [24] Vicinity of Pittsburg; [25] Vicinity of Chicago; [26] Vicinity of Detroit; [27] Vicinity of Washington; [28] Vicinity of Baltimore; [29] Vicinity of New Orleans; [30] Vicinity of Mobile; [31] Vicinity of Cincinnati; [32] Vicinity of St. Louis; [33] Vicinity of New York; [34] Vicinity of Philadelphia; [35] Vicinity of Boston; [36] North Part of Maine; [37] Vicinity of Niagara Falls. New York, 1845. Steel-engraved and varnished wall map on five sheets, with original outline and wash color, mounted on original linen, a few remains of selvages, contemporary black wooden rollers. Map proper within ornate vine border: 40.3 x 90.7 cm; overall image including scenes below: 60.5 x 103.5 cm; overall sheet size: 70 x 104.5 cm. Some areas of fading, moderate waterstain at upper left, slight chipping to blank margins, slightly yellowed from varnish. Usually this type of map is found in poor condition, but this is a very good, unsophisticated copy. OCLC locates one copy of this 1845 edition (Oberlin).

     This extravagant icon of Young Republic popular culture came out in several editions during this time period. An 1837 copyright has been noticed for one version, with copies of 1838 and 1839 found. The 1840 edition was extensively revised, and the first to show Stephen F. Austin’s colony in Texas, which is present on this copy. The map reaches farther west than most maps of the United States at this period, extending to the Rockies, including a huge Missouri Territory (seemingly encompassing all of the Great Plains), New Mexico (with southeastern boundary at San Antonio), and a scaled-down Texas as an independent political entity (Brazoria and north, with Stephen F. Austin’s colony prominently shown; the town of Austin is now located). Since this was a map intended to guide travellers, railroad, steamboat, and canal routes are shown.

     Matthew H. Edney, Mapping the Republic: Conflicting Concepts of the Territory and Character of the U.S.A., 1790-1900 (citing the 1841 edition in an exhibit at the University of Southern Maine):

The political juxtaposition of the Republic with the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence was made explicit by culturally rich wall hangings such as this. The map (originally designed to be printed on tissue paper and folded into a pocket guide to the more populated parts of the United States) was displayed within a larger complex of images symbolizing the history and character of the Republic: (a) a rather crude rendition of John Trumbull’s 1824 painting, commissioned for the Capitol Rotunda by Congress in 1817, of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; (b-d) the text of the Declaration, a facsimile of its signatures, and a key to the painting, all at left; (e-h) four images depicting iconic moments in the early history of the United States, one of the landing of the ‘Plymouth Pilgrims’ in 1620 and three of the start and end of the Revolution; (i-j) allegories of the two great military leaders produced by America (King Philip [or Metacom], the Wampanoag sachem who fought the New England colonists in 1675-1676, and George Washington); and, (k-l) portraits of each of the Presidents in two panels. Three images of the world and its primary geographical features reinforce the common distinction between the Old World of Tyranny and Despotism and the New World of Liberty and Democracy. The overall political meaning of this wall hanging would have been quite obvious to its viewers in schools, libraries, and homes.

     For more on the Ensign firm and its permutations through time, see Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition), Vol. II, pp. 25-26.


Sold. Hammer: $1,200.00; Price Realized: $1,470.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts


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