Rare & Early Mexican-American War Pocket Map & Guide

With Inset Maps of the Two Battles Fought on Texas Soil

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378. [MAP]. THOMAS, COWPERTHWAIT & CO. (publisher). Map of Mexico including Yucatan. [below neat line at lower left] Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. in the Clerk’s office of the district court for the eastern district of Pennsylvania [inset map at upper right] Fields of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma [neat line to neat line: 4.8 x 6.7 cm] [inset map at lower left] Valley of Mexico including the Federal District [neat line to neat line: 6.7 x 6.2 cm]. Lithograph map on bank note paper (showing Mexico, most of Texas, Southern California, and the Gulf Coast to Appalachicola), Mexico and New Mexico in original full color and the inset maps with original outline color and gesso highlights. Neat line to neat line: 19.8 x 26.5 cm; overall sheet size: 21.3 x 28.2 cm. Folded into original pocket covers (13.6 x 8.3 cm) and pasted to rear cover, original dark green roan, matching leather label on upper cover (lettered in gilt Mexico and Yucatan), both covers elaborately blind-embossed. Pasted to front cover is a pamphlet entitled: Description of the Republic of Mexico, Including its Physical and Moral Features, Geography, Agriculture, Products, Manufacturers, Etc. Illustrated by a Map, in Which is Included Smaller Maps of the Valley of Mexico, and the Fields of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1846. [i-iii] iv, [3] 4-83 [1, blank] pp., wood-engraved text illustrations (scenes, views, flora and fauna, mining, Mexican types, social life, etc.). Spine of pocket covers slightly chipped at head, corners lightly bumped. Moderate staining to first and last few leaves and fore-edges. Other than small stains at lower center, map fine, with bright color. We find only one sales record for this pocket map (our Auction 20). OCLC locates copies at UT Arlington and Yale.

     First edition. Not in Howes, Wheat, Palau, Garrett & Goodwin’s Mexican-American War, etc. This very rare pocket map and guide to Mexico, published in the first flush of war, has good coverage of the two battles fought on Texas soil (Resaca de Palma and Palo Alto), both of which are illustrated in insets on the map. Texas was annexed to the United States in 1845, and this map shows the extensive territory then still part of Mexico that would soon be lost in the Mexican-American War. It was probably put out in haste to satisfy the appetite for news from the front and for the men going to war. The news is so fresh, that the map includes a route from Matamoros to Mexico which “Gen. Taylor most probably will take, should he be directed to march on the capital.” The crude little vignettes are based on illustrations from earlier works, such as Humboldt, Nebel, Gualdi, and others.

     Ristow briefly mentions the Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. firm (American Maps and Mapmakers, p. 313). The firm took over publication of many of the maps and atlases of S. Augustus Mitchell, but this is not a Mitchell knockoff. See Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition), Vol. I, p. 309, where the publishers’ incarnation as Thomas, Cowperthwait is noted at 253 Market Street in Philadelphia between 1849-1858.


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

Auction 23 Abstracts

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