Copyright 2000- by Dorothy Sloan-Rare Books Inc. for all materials on this site. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Pingenot Auction, Lot 101


101. EMORY, W. H. Notes of a Military Reconnaissance, from Fort Leavenworth, in Missouri, to San Diego, in California, Including Part of the Arkansas, Del Norte, and Gila Rivers.... Washington: HRED41, 1848. 614 pp., 64 lithographed plates (views, Native Americans, natural history), 3 battle plans, 3 folding lithographed maps, including the large-scale Military Reconnaissance of the Arkansas, Rio del Norte and Rio Gila by W. H. Emory...Assisted by...J. W. Abert and W. G., and...W. H. Warner and Mr. Norman Bestor.... (77.1 x 139.1 cm; 30-1/4 x 64-3/4 inches). Thick 8vo, original brown cloth, printed paper spine label. Other than occasional mild foxing (much less than usual), an exceptionally fine copy, the binding wonderfully well-preserved, plates in the preferred state. The large map (frequently wanting and here supplied from another copy) is in excellent condition. Preserved in a dark brown cloth slipcase. Pingenot purchased this book from the Dudley R. Dobie auction.
        First edition, House issue, best edition (additional reports by Abert, Cooke, and Johnston; plates in the Abert report unattributed and in superior style). Cowan, p. 195. Edwards, Desert Voices, pp. 54-55; Enduring Desert, pp. 76-77. Graff 1249. Howes E145: "The plates of scenery in the Senate edition were lithographed by Weber & Co.; in the House edition these are usually all done by Graham, though in some copies, the 24 plates in Abert’s report were executed, in a superior manner, anonymously." McKelvey, Botanical Explorations of the Trans-Mississippi West, pp. 990-1018. Munk (Alliott), p. 73. Plains & Rockies IV:148. Rittenhouse 188. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, p. 278: "[Contains the] first view of the Southwest." Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 505, 532, & 544: "Since Emory was meticulous in his astronomical observations and because of his extreme care not to include mere ‘imaginary geography,’ the map possesses an importance much greater than many of the more showy performances of the period. Its carefully fixed points enabled other mapmakers to orientate entire regions not hitherto properly tied into known geographic positions. In many respects, Emory’s map was the most important milestone in the cartographic development and accurate delineation of the Southwest." Zamorano Eighty 33: "A library of Western Americana is incomplete without it."
         There are myriad issues and variants of this epochal report, but an important consideration for the collector is the quality of the plates, which in the present copy are in their preferred superior state. Perhaps more important is the presence and condition of Emory’s grand map—the first printed map to show the Southern route. With the discovery of gold in California, Emory’s report and map became immensely popular, supplying detailed information on the entire route relative to watering places, roads, deserts, landmarks, Indians, plant and animal life. This was the map of the day—for both the armchair traveller and many an actual emigrant, who carried it on the long trek to California. Though these intrepid overlanders discarded many a prized possession in the struggle across the treacherous desert, Emory’s map was among the last material possessions to be abandoned.