Early Railroad Map of Missouri & Eastern Kansas

Very Rare Pocket Map

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389. [MAP]. WELLS, J[ohn] G[aylord]. Wells’ New Rail Road and Township Map of Missouri and Eastern Kansas from the Latest Government Surveys. J.G. Wells, 11 Beekman St. New York. 1857. Scale of Miles... Explanation [with symbols] State Capital. County Towns. Rail Roads. Proposed Rail Roads. [pictorial seal] Great Seal of the State of Missouri [below lower neat line at left] Lith. V. Keil 181 William St. N.Y. [centered below lower ornamental border] Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by J.G. Wells, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York. New York, 1857. Lithograph map of Eastern Kansas, all of Missouri, and parts of Indian Territory, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, and Illinois, printed on bank note paper, full hand coloring, borders in bright rose pink, ornate border of grapes, grape leaves, Native American portrait in oval at each corner; neat line to neat line: 42.8 x 63 cm; border to border: 51 x 71 cm; overall sheet size: 60 x 79 cm; folded into original green embossed cloth (14.7 x 9.5 cm), title lettered in gilt on upper cover (Wells’ New Map of Missouri and Eastern Kansas), printed yellow endpaper affixed to inside upper cover (Wells’ List of New Publications). Mild age toning to map, a few stains at top left, clean splits at a few folds (no losses), overall a fine copy with brilliant color. Uncommon (one copy of the 1858 edition located by OCLC, University of Virginia at Charlottesville).

     First edition. Not in Modelski’s railroad bibliographies, or other standard sources. Railroads began to be important in the region in the late 1850s, but ironically, the only railroad shown on this map is the Pacific Railroad Line between St. Louis (“The Gateway to the West”) and Jefferson City, with shorter trunk lines to the north and south of St. Louis. Slowly the emigrant and other trails were being replaced by railroad tracks. On the other hand, several proposed lines are indicated, such as one from Jefferson City to Kansas City, and another from Keosauqua, Iowa, to Kansas City. Tooley lists cartographer J.G. Wells (1821-1880) but notes only one map (Ohio) by him. Other located publications indicate that he was active principally in 1857. Circa 1856, Wells published a map of Kansas and Nebraska. In 1857 Wells published an extraordinary amount of material, such as pocket guides for Iowa (Howes W250), Nebraska (Howes W251), and popular guides, such as Wells’ National Hand-Book, and even a book on how to be your own attorney. Other maps by Wells in 1857 include New Sectional Map of Minnesota (1857); New Sectional Map of Kansas (1857); Kansas and Nebraska (1857); New Sectional Map of Nebraska (sold at our Auction 20 in 2007 @ $8,225). He also published an undated panoramic map of the Civil War in the 1860s (one copy located at University of Virginia at Charlottesville). The list of Wells’ forty publications on the front pastedown is impressive. The mysterious Wells’ cartographic output was short-lived and vigorous, and all his maps are very rare.


Sold. Hammer: $2,500.00; Price Realized: $3,062.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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