Early German Map Showing Texas After Annexation

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

355. [MAP]. RADEFELD, Hauptm. [Carl Christian Franz]. Texas Nach den besten Quellen entw. u. gez. vom Hauptm. Radefeld. 1846. [below lower neat line, centered] Stich, Druck und Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts zu Hildburghausen. [above neat line at top left] Meyer’s Handatlas. Hildburghausen, Germany, 1846. Engraved map of Texas and most of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, neat line to neat line: 29.3 x 35.1 cm, original outline color of boundaries, relief shown by hachures. Upper right corner torn with loss of small triangular piece at top neat line (approximately 1.5 cm), a few light creases. A very good copy.

     This appears to be the earliest version of this map before any changes or additions of names and geographical corrections were made to the original engraving following the Mexican-American War. Our copy is like the one at the Library of Congress. Day, p. 53 (1850 edition, noting a pencil note on source): “Meyer, J. 1850 Auswanderungs—Atlas für Nord Amerika.” Phillips, America, p. 844: “From Meyer’s Handatlas. no. 103.” Rumsey 4807.165 (discussing the 1860 atlas in which his copy of the Texas map appears, Meyer’s Grosser Hand-Atlas aller Theile der Erde): “This is Meyer’s grandest production, a real tour de force that has fifty maps of the Americas including thirty-three maps that are derived from the Tanner/Mitchell Universal atlas maps of the various U.S. States and Territories, Canada, and South America and are dated from 1844 to 1854 (with most dated 1844 or 1845)....The Iowa, Wisconsin, and Texas maps are not copied from the Universal atlas, but all the others are almost exact copies and it is strange that no credit is given to Tanner or Mitchell.” TCU, Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps, Plate 30, p. 50: “This is a German edition of Emory’s 1844 Map of Texas. The boundary does not include New Mexico because the Texan Santa Fe expedition failed to secure the new Republic’s claim.” Virga, Texas: Mapping the Lone Star State through History, p. 39 (illustrated): “This map, published in 1846, is similar to the Topographical Bureau presentation of 1844 (see EMORY herein], but there is more relief shown on this map.”

     We note at least three versions of the map, the earliest of which is like our copy: “1846” under title; Texas western border appears to follow Rio Bravo (yellow color line); the “T” in Texas is slightly southwest of the name Angostura; Texas is part of the U.S., but no defined border exists between Texas and the U.S.; the colored boundary line following the Red River-Mississippi was probably meant as the eastern border of Texas; the northern border between Sonora/Chihuahua and California is indicated with an engraved dotted line and yellow outline; no Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo border; Gila River empties directly into the Gulf of California; New Mexico is shown roughly along the Rio Grande; Houston appears both in southeast Texas and on the Rio Grande between Laredo and Presidio de Rio Grande. The next version of the map (Rumsey 4807.165) has post-Mexican War changes indicated only by the use of color outlining: Texas with a modern western border Panhandle outlined; the eastern-northeastern border of Texas follows Sabine and Red River with outline coloring; and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo border defined with red colored line following the Gila River. The third version has many differences: No date under title; the “T” in Texas is moved to below the name Angostura so that it is entirely within the Texas border; Louisiana appears on the map and the colored line following the Red River-Mississippi has disappeared entirely; the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo border is defined with red outline color following the Gila River which is now correctly drawn as draining into the Colorado River; New Mexico is depicted as a territory with the border encompassing modern-day New Mexico and Arizona. Many new place names are added to the third version, including New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Springfield, Corsicana, Milam, etc. The extra Houston on the Rio Grande is renamed Dolores. An area of “Comanches & Lipans” is shown across a broad swath of west central Texas; Apaches are named in the Big Bend area; ruins of Ft. San Saba are shown; Pasigano, Salado and (another) Red River are named as extensions of the Colorado, which was previously undifferentiated; Llano Estacado is named; various spelling changes, such as Padre Island and Matamoros.

     It is not surprising to find so much variation across versions of this beautiful and precisely engraved German map of Texas. The map was made by the far-flung map, atlas, and book publishing firm of Joseph Meyer (1796-1856), who founded the Bibliographisches Institut in 1826 (see Walter Behrmann’s “Die Entwicklung der kartographischen Anstalt des Bibliographischen Instituts” in Jahrbuch der Kartographie (Leipzig, 1942, pp. 125-208). Carl Christian Franz Radefeld (1788-1874), the maker of the present map, was chief cartographer. The publishing firm endured through several generations into the twentieth century. The buildings of the company were completely destroyed by the bombing raids on Leipzig 1943-1944, and the company was expropriated by the communist regime in 1946. The shareholders moved the concern to Mannheim in Western Germany in 1953 (Bibliographisches Institut AG). In 1984 the firm united with its biggest competitor in the market of reference works, the venerable F.A. Brockhaus. After the German reunification, the firm regained its former properties in Leipzig in 1991.

     The Meyer firm paid very close attention to the advancing knowledge of geography and political changes resulting in new boundaries when they published their maps, which appeared separately, in published atlases (some serially), and in a plethora of unique composite atlases. Meyer referred to their methodology with atlases as “growing atlases” (Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition), Vol. III, pp. 245-246). Thus, unless one is fortunate enough to have a complete Meyer atlas like Rumsey (4807b), it might be a challenge to designate the source of a separate of this Texas map. The early versions bear the designation Meyer’s Handatlas at top left above neat line and atlas No. 103 at right above neat line. These details in later versions are respectively Meyer’s Grosser Zeitungs-Atlas and No. 113, but when composite atlases are involved, anything can occur.

     Last, but not least, the appearance in Germany in 1846 of a map emphasizing Texas is not unexpected, given the annexation of Texas to the United States, activities of the Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, and elevated interest in Texas as a field of emigration among many Germans.


Sold. Hammer: $1,400.00; Price Realized: $1,715.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: