Gibbes’ Meticulous 1876 Pocket Map of California & Nevada

Minerals, Railroads & Everything in Between

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302. [MAP]. GIBBES, Cha[rle]s Drayton (cartographer) & Warren Holt (publisher). Map of the States of California and Nevada. Carefully Compiled from the Latest Authentic Sources. By Chas. Drayton Gibbes, C.E. Comprising Information Obtained from the U.S. Coast and Land Surveys; State Geological Surveys, by Prof. J.D. Whitney, Railroad Surveys and the Results of Explorations made by Brevet Lieut. Col. R.S. Williamson, U.S.A., Henry de Groot, C.D. Gibbes, and Others. Published by Warren Holt. No. 717 Montgomery St. 1876. San Francisco, Cal... Entered According to Act of Congress in the Year 1876 by Warren Holt in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington [lower center above border] S.B. Linton (Formerly of the U.S. Coast Survey) Draughtsman & Lithographer 148 S. Fourth Street Philadelphia, Pa. [insets and text above title]: [1] Judicial Districts of California. And the Counties Composing the Same;[2] symbols for gold, silver, copper, quicksilver, tin, coal, oil springs; key with colors] Explanations;[3] United States Land Districts. San Francisco, 1876. Lithograph map on thin paper, original outline hand coloring (vivid rose at boundary of California), geometric ornamental border, border to border: 94.5 x 79.5 cm; overall sheet size: 85 x 102 cm. Folded into original pocket covers (16 x 10.5 cm), original green cloth lettered in gilt on upper cover: Holt’s Map of California and Nevada, both covers blind-ruled. Map: Except for minor fold splits with no losses, very good with bright color retention. Pocket covers lightly rubbed. Overall very good.

     Gibbes’ maps of California and Nevada were constantly updated as new information and improvements became available, and the more information that was added the more dense the maps became, the present edition being an almost indecipherable miasma of detail. A thorough cartobibliographical study of the variants is long overdue. This 1876 version differs from the preceding 1873 publication, including: the 1876 map is from a completely different stone and is somewhat larger than the 1873 map; railroad rights-of-way are shown in colors keyed to the explanation; the publisher’s address is changed from Clay Street to Montgomery Street; the lithographers street address is changed from 148 to 148-1/2 S. Fourth Street; California has been reoriented in its lower portion to be narrower with the coast between Santa Barbara and Lower California to run in a more southeasterly direction; the eastern border of Nevada has been slightly altered; “Las Vegas” now is called “Los Vegas Fortification” and the mountain range above Las Vegas is no longer designated as “Las Vegas Range”; the 1876 version does not have full color wash; the ornamental border is wider on the 1876 version; 14 land offices are shown, whereas the 1873 map listed only 11; etc., etc.

     Eberstadt 106:058a (the only dealer listing we find for an 1876 edition). John N. McNiel, “Historical Maps and Charts” in Scientific Monthly (Vol. 50, No. 5, 1940), mentions this 1876 map on p. 447. Rumsey 2578n (1875 edition). Streeter Sale 3930 (1869 predecessor); 3939 (1873 edition); 3941 (1875 edition). Vogdes, A Bibliography Relating to the Geology, Palæontology, and Mineral Resources of California, p. 8 (listing an 1876 edition). Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #1240n (citing 1873 edition) & Vol. V (part 2), p. 285: “Charles Drayton Gibbes, C.E., assumed responsibility as compiler, though this map is the lineal descendant of the 1869 production [Streeter Sale 3930] in which Gibbes appeared as one of several authors. This edition is considerably reduced in size, now on a scale of 18 miles to an inch...and the 10, 20, and 30 mile limitations affecting railroad land grants are marked. More detail is provided in southern Nevada, and the whole map has been updated more or less; in short, this is a fine map such as we have learned to expect from both Charles Drayton Gibbes and Warren Holt.” Wheat (1208 & V, pp. 268-269) remarks of the 1869 map: “No amount of time spent on this map would be wasted; its detail is fascinating,” an observation that applies equally to the present edition. Although on a smaller scale than the 1869, the map is also quite detailed and shows many of the changes and improvements that have occurred since the 1869 edition was published. The continuing progress, for example, of the railroad systems in the state is quite obvious with their land grants carefully indicated in manuscript colors. Hundreds of small towns, villages, and other settlements are indicated. Las Vegas is shown as “Los Vegas Fortification,” a name which dates back to the 1850s when the Mormons built a little fort that became a stopover on the travellers on the western trail. A plethora of interesting, sometimes forgotten, place names can be found on this map. Many of the old Spanish missions along the former Camino Real are shown, as well as numerous geographical features such as streams, promontories, and lakes. Mining and minerals, as usual, are meticulously indicated.

     Cartographer Gibbes and publisher Holt were responsible for some of the more important and influential maps of California and Nevada during the mid- and late nineteenth century. Holt (active and prolific between 1862-1875) also issued Gibbes’ 1869 map. Gibbes’ cartographical career commenced after his arrival in the Gold Rush, including his landmark Gold Rush maps: A New Map of the Gold Region in California printed in Stockton in 1851 (Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Regions 192) and his 1852 Map of the Southern Mines (Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Regions 157), which also appeared in Carson’s 1852 Recollections of the California Mines (Zamorano 80 #16). After a distinguished career as a mapmaker and civil engineer in California, Gibbes (1813-1893) became curator of mineralogy at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, following which he retired on a small pension. As Wheat notes, he left “a record of long-continued and important scientific service in his adopted state.” Philadelphia lithographer and engraver S. Benton Linton was one of the prominent map printers of the late nineteenth century, and this map is a beautiful, well-preserved example of his work in large format.


Sold. Hammer: $2,000.00; Price Realized: $2,450.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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