[PRINT]. ENSIGNS & THAYER (publishers). Ornamental Map of the United States & Mexico. [along bottom] Bowle and Ward, 43 Cornhill, Boston. Entered According to Act of Congress in the Year 1848, by Ensigns & Thayer, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York. Published by Ensign [sic] & Thayer, 50 Ann Street New York and 12 Exchange St., Buffalo. Broadside within decorative border with map, vignettes, and text, most with contemporary hand color. [Title of map] “Map of the United States and Mexico Including Oregon, Texas and the Californias,” with vignettes and statistical tables down both sides. [vignettes at top]: Taylor, George Washington (surrounded by flags, cornucopia, etc.), Scott, and “Panoramic View from New York to the Pacific Ocean by the Contemplated Oregon Railroad”; [vignettes and text at bottom]: Great Temple with text, “An American Exhibiting to the Sovereigns of Europe the Progress of His Country,” and Mexico City with text. Image area: 73.5 x 53 cm; overall sheet size: 78 x 58 cm. Probably woodcut engravings. Slight overall age toning, minor chips at top margin, one closed tear into image. Overall, very good, especially considering the poor paper upon which it was printed; many copies are in poor condition.
First edition? Cf. Wheat, Gold Regions 38. Cf. Wheat, Transmississippi West 557: “flamboyant broadside.”
A busy, almost smug, production expressive of Yankee aspirations at the end of the war, perfectly capturing the concept of self-satisfied, fanatical U.S. Manifest Destiny dished up for the eager masses. If ever the term “the climax of cheapness” fit, this is it. In “An American Exhibiting to the Sovereigns of Europe the Progress of His Country,” a dandified gentleman in top hat faces an audience of richly dressed European aristocracy and royalty. He gestures with pride to a busy scene behind him with a giant steamer named The Union, other ships, a train, a factory (all belching noxious, black fumes), a hot air balloon, and a city tapering away to majestic mountains. On either side of the map are columns of statistical data respecting individual states. All is surrounded by a border of intertwined stars with U.S. shields at the four corners. The Great Oregon Railroad is shown in color.