Traveller’s Guide & Map for the Young Republic

With Engraved Portrait of George Washington by Chapin

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387. [MAP]. WEBSTER, James. Map of the United States Published by J. Webster New-York. 1836. Entered according to Act of Congress, on the 20th. of March 1834: by James Webster, in the Office of the Clerk of the Southern District of New York. Engraved by Wm. Chapin. N. York [lower right, between title and copyright: large portrait of George Washington within oval decorative border] [lower center, printed table] Population of the United States.... [New York, 1836]. Engraved map on thin paper, original outline color (yellow, rose, green, blue), piano-key border shaded pink, neat line to neat line: 41 x 50.2 cm; overall sheet size: 41.7 x 50.7 cm; foldout letterpress broadside: Travellers Guide and Statistical View of the United States (text within ornamental typographical border, 45.5 x 56.3 cm), folded into original pocket covers (13 x 8.5 cm), original black leather over stiff boards covered with black paper. Minor spotting to pocket covers, a few splits at folds of maps neatly mended, broadside slightly trimmed at upper left corner with very small loss of decorative border. Overall a very good, fresh copy.

     American Imprints 42373. Eberstadt 138:724 (1834 edition). Rumsey 3450. Sabin 102324. The makers of such pocket maps extensively borrowed, stole, traded, and legitimately purchased from one another the information found in such guides. Webster’s guide is no exception, and Mitchell and Phelps are among the conjectured sources for the present work. Of special interest is the exuberantly engraved and charmingly executed portrait of George Washington done with a variety of engraving techniques (including stipple and line engraving) and the barely discernable engraved statement on the map: Engraved by Wm Chapin. The Philadelphia artist-engraver was William Chapin (1801-1888), who worked in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York (see Groce & Wallace, p. 118 and Stauffer, American Engravers upon Copper and Steel I, pp. 43-44). Fielding (p. 145) states: “About 1827, Mr. Chapin turned his attention to projecting and engraving maps, and in time he established an extensive map business in New York. Chapin’s large map of the United States is said to be the first map engraved upon steel in this country” (see American Imprints 54885 & Phillips, America, p. 892).

     Between word and map image, an idea is imparted of the young Republic on the verge of Manifest Destiny that would soon stretch the western boundary to include Texas and eventually to the Pacific. The large printed broadside gives steamboat routes, principal roads and distances, population statistics (noting numbers of whites “free blacks,” and slaves) and information on counties and major towns for each state. This map and guide show the young Republic west of the Missouri Territory and includes Long’s Peak. The territories of tribes are located, such as the Comanche, Black Foot, Sioux, Iowa, and Cheyenne. Most of present-day Texas is shown, although still designated as part of Mexico (the only town found is Nacogdoches). Rivers are delineated, and Galveston and Matagorda Bays, Aransas Inlet Bay, and Padre Island are pinpointed.


Auction 23 Abstracts

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