Western U.S. & Mexico Maps from Vandermaelen’s Atlas,
Including “the only printed map from the colonial period devoted specifically to the Texas coast”—Taliaferro

From “the most remarkable world atlases ever made”—Koeman

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383. [MAP]. [VANDERMAELEN, Philippe Marie Guillaume]. Collection of nine lithograph maps with original color (outline and shading), each measures approximately: border to border: 48 x 56.5 cm; overall sheet size: 52.5 x 70.3 cm. Other than an occasional chip to blank margin, a bit of mild age toning here and there, and a few minor stains; all maps are generally fine and fresh (the Texas Gulf Coast map [9] is superb). The scarce, unnumbered general assembly map for North and South America is included, along with maps relating to Texas, Mexico, California, and the Far West. See notes following the listing of the nine maps for cartobibliographical references and historical notes.

List of Maps

[1] Tableau Provisoire d’Assemblage d’une Partie de l’Amérique seple. & d’une partie de l’Amérique Meridionale. North and South America from 50 to 130 degrees longitude and from 40 degrees south to about 46 degrees north latitude (present day Southwestern U.S. and Texas are part of Mexico). Rumsey 2212.204. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 79 f.46 (p. 146).

[2]  Amér. Sep. Nouvelle Californie. [upper right] No. 46. California from its northern border near Pt. St. George to slightly south of Monterey at Big Sur. At the left is a profile showing the mountain ranges from Acapulco to Mexico, apparently based on Humboldt, whose notes on California appear in a box at the upper right. One of the more unusual maps of California. Rumsey 2212.251. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.47 (p. 130) & AMS 46 (p. 45). First issue, with the interior empty of place names and other data.

[3]  Amér. Sep. Partie du Mexique. [upper right] No. 47. This quadrant is of interest for Borderlands and U.S. Western history, locating tribal lands of the Navajo, Ute, Moqui, and others. The region includes Salt Lake and parts of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, etc. Rumsey 2212.252. Cf. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.48 (p. 130) & AMS 47 (p. 45). Third issue, without Humboldt’s chart and Montezuma quote suppressed.

[4]  Amér. Sep. Partie de la Nouvle. Californie. [upper right] No. 52. California coast showing the Santa Barbara Channel with profile of Pacific coast below. Rumsey 2212.257. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.53 (p. 131) & AMS 52 (p. 46). First issue, with the Humboldt profile of mountains, but not seen by Silvestre.

[5]  Amér. Sep.Partie de la Vieille Californie. [upper right] No. 53. Unusual cartographic treatment of the historic Borderland region at the pivotal juncture of the Colorado and Gila Rivers and the mouth of the Gulf of California. Shown are southern Arizona, northern Sonora, northern Baja, Upper California (locating San Diego, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, etc.). The track of Vancouver’s voyage is traced, and located are the pearl fishery, and various tribes (Apache, Papago, Cocomaricopas, and others). Rumsey 2212.258. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.54 (p. 131). The only issue.

[6]  Amér. Sep.Partie du Mexique. [upper right] No. 54. Shows El Paso, Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains, various tribes (Mescalero Apache, and other branches of the Apache tribe). This map, along with four others from Vandermaelen’s atlas, form what is now Texas. See [9] below for another sector of Texas. Includes parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Sonora and Chihuahua. Rumsey 2212.259. Streeter 1095. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.55 (pp. 131-132). The only issue.

[7]  Amér. Sep. Partie de la Vielle Californie. [upper right] No. 58. Parts of Baja California (Mission S. Francisco Borja to La Paz), Sonora, Sinaloa and Chihuahua. Rumsey 2212.264. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.60 (pp. 132-133). The only issue.

[8]  Amér. Sep. Partie du Mexique. [upper right] No. 59. This map is one of the five sheets relating to Texas, showing the very tip of far South Texas. Mexican coverage includes Monterrey (Mexico) and parts of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, Durango, and Sinaloa. Rumsey 2212.265. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.61 (p. 133). The only issue.

[9]  Amér. Sep. Partie du Mexique. [upper right] No. 60. Exceptionally fine, and strong color. This map shows the Texas coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande (though the border is still indicated at the Nueces), the Gulf of Mexico from south of Matamoros to Cyprien, Louisiana, and parts of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Louisiana. Includes text: Humboldt. Day, Maps of Texas, p. 141. Martin & Martin, p. 32: “Van der Maelen’s Atlas Universel, the most lavish and detailed cartographic production of the decade and the first major lithographed atlas, included five maps depicting parts of Texas.” Rumsey 2212.266. Silvestre, Vandermaelen 75 f.62 (p. 133) (only issue). Streeter 1095 (listing all 5 maps): “The entire Texas coast line [is] shown on a single sheet (No. 60) a jumble of islands dotting the coast from Galveston Bay (here called Baie Trinidad) to the mouth of the Rio Grande.” Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 219 (discussing the present map): “This is one of five sheets from Vander Maelen’s atlas that depicts Texas, and it is the only printed map from the colonial period devoted specifically to the Texas coast.” This is the most desirable of the five Vandermaelen maps relating to Texas.

     The guide map [1] appeared in Part V of Vandermaelen’s Atlas Universel de Géographie, Physique, Politique, Statistique et Minéralogique; the remaining eight maps were in Part IV.Vandermaelen’s grand atlas was the first printed atlas of the world on a uniform scale, the first major lithographed atlas, and noteworthy for its large scale. Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici (Vander Maelen 1) III, pp. 141-144. National Maritime Museum 179. Phillips, Atlases 749 (general listing without setting forth the individual maps). Rumsey 2212 (individual citations above). Sabin 43762. Silvestre, Vandermaelen (see citations on each map above). Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #378 & p. 94 (Wheat is rather dismissive, to say the least): “No mapmaker had previously attempted to use such a large scale for any western American area. However, merely increasing the size of representation cannot add to knowledge unless there is added information to depict, and Vandermaelen had none. He used the earlier available material to advantage, but his tremendous map is more a curiosity than a contribution, except that its larger scale renders it highly readable.”

     Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici (Vander Maelen 1) III, p. 142:

During the period when Belgium and the Netherlands together formed the kingdom of the Netherlands, one of the most remarkable developments of private enterprise in cartography took place in Brussels. There lived Philippe Vander Maelen, son of the wealthy soap manufacturer, Guillaume Vander Maelen, who abandoned the soap trade and devoted his life to cartography. He did extremely well and published one of the most remarkable world atlases ever made: a world atlas with 400 maps on a uniform scale of ca. 1:1,6 million. This work, which appeared in 1827, was far ahead of its time, but its appearance could only be justified by the unparalleled zeal of its author.... The completion of the huge work was realized in the amazingly short period of three years.

     Rumsey quotes a statement of Koeman’s, with which he strongly disagrees:

Koeman states that “[Vandermaelen’s] atlases, although unique in concept and size did not possess that fine touch of cartographic style which make them attractive for a collector.” We strongly disagree—the graphic art of the maps must be appreciated in the context of lithography, a developing art at the time; as lithographs, they are very well done. For many of the areas depicted, these maps are the largest scale maps made at the time, and the most detailed (particularly in the American West).


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,837.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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