Rare Mexican-American War Pocket Map

First Edition, First Issue

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331. [MAP]. MITCHELL, S[amuel] Augustus. Map of Mexico, including Yucatan & Upper California, exhibiting the Chief Cities and Towns, the Principal Travelling Routes &c. Philadelphia: Published by S. Augustus Mitchell, N.E. Corner of Market and Seventh Sts. 1846. Entered according to the Act of Congress in the Year 1846 by S. Augustus Mitchell, in the Clerk’s office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. [inset plan at top right, 15.3 x 19.3 cm] The Late Battlefield. [flags marking battlefields of the Alamo, San Jacinto, Resaca de la Palma, Palo Alto, and Monterrey]. Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1846 (copyright 1846). Lithograph map on thin wove paper, within decorative border, original hand-coloring with bright rose outline coloring around Texas in its Emory conformation and overreaching Panhandle, green border, battle plan at top uncolored, Mexico and Upper California in full color. Neat line to neat line: 44.5 x 64.1 cm; overall sheet size: 46 x 65.5 cm. Folded into original blind-embossed dark green roan covers, with gilt-lettered label on upper cover (Mexico), printed leaf affixed to verso of upper cover: Extent and Population of Mexico. Very lightly browned at folds, minor voids at folds which have been professionally strengthened, a few small brown spots, but overall very fine with excellent color retention. Two contemporary pencil signatures on map verso. Rare in first issue.

     First edition, first issue, with inset plan at top uncolored and entitled “The Late Battlefield,” without the lower “Road Between Mexico & Vera Cruz” (see next entry herein), and other variations. Rumsey 3119n (first 1847 issue). The first edition came out in 1846 and is easily identifiable because the copyright and imprint date both read 1846 (Streeter Sale 3868, Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 284); the very first issue had the inset map at upper right uncolored. The third edition (Rumsey 4594, Streeter 3869, Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #548, Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region #35) was extensively revised, including: addition of Map of the Principal Roads from Vera Cruz and Alvarado to the City of Mexico and profile below; reduction of the overall area shown to between approximately 86 and 120 degrees of longitude, thereby reducing the area by about seven degrees (here the area shown is between approximately 83 and 123 degrees of longitude); the reduction of the inset plan at top right; and the alteration of the title of the plan from The Late Battlefield to Battle Field of Monterey. Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War of 1846-1848 (p. 417) list an unspecified early issue. Various incarnations of this map have passed through our hands over the years, most of which exhibit yet more evidence of persistent revision and the likelihood of a plethora of cartobibliographical variances deserving full analysis and study.

This map, a simplified, adapted version of Mitchell’s 1846 New Map of Texas, Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining (see Wheat, Transmississippi West #254 and Item following), is one of a series of popular maps cartographical publisher Mitchell began issuing at the beginning of the Mexican-American War. As soon as the conflict was underway, Mitchell saw that there would be a demand for maps detailing the events in the theater of war, so he quickly came out with a folding map of Mexico with Texas shown with a red outline in its relative position, its panhandle extending to the 42nd parallel. The map was very much a war map, with topographical information kept to a minimum, but roads, towns, political divisions, and rivers clearly shown. Mitchell updated this map as news of events arrived, adding, for instance, flags indicating the sites of recent battles and other details such as rivers, towns, tribes, and Mayan ruins. ($4,000-8,000)

Auction 23 Abstracts

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