Dorothy Sloan – Books

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Not an Empty Square Inch

<p>Full print</p>


[PRINT]. ENSIGNS & THAYER (publishers). 1847 Seat of War & Battles. 1847. Map at center: Map of the Seat of War. [Vignettes]: portraits of Scott, Taylor, Santa Anna, Ampudia, two female allegorical figures for Justice and Liberty; scenes of military engagements with accompanying text: Battle of Monterey; Capture of Gen. La Vega; Battle at Buena Vesta [sic]; Battle of Churubusco, near the City of Mexico, August 20, 1847; view (City of Vera Cruz and Castle of San Juan de Ulloa, Taken by the Americans, March 13, 1847); two text passages: “Outline History of the Mexican War” and “Battles of Contreras and Churubusco.” [At lower left]: Rufus Blanchard, 242 Main St., Cincinnati; [at lower right]: D. Needham, 223 Main Street, Buffalo; [along bottom]: Entered According to the Act of Congress in the Year 1847 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 Ensigns & Thayer, 36 Ann Street, New York. New York: Ensigns & Thayer, 1847. Wood engraved, with contemporary full bright color to border, map, and some other elements. Map: 17.5 x 20.5 cm; image area: 73.5 x 53.5 cm; overall sheet size: 78 x 58 cm. Closed tears (some into image), a few minor marginal spots, minor chipping, light overall browning. Generally fine, given the cheap, thin paper on which it was printed.

Garrett & Goodwin, p. 563. This is the more obscure, rarely found version distinguished by the dates at the top. (See our auction 23, lot 288, for another version.)

The keen interest evoked by dramatically unfolding events in the Mexican-American war led to an outpouring of images and imprints, attempting to sate the public’s deep need to know. At this point, Scott was well on his way to Mexico City. For ten years, people in the United States had been following events in the Texas-Mexico conflict—the Alamo, Goliad, the Santa Fe Expedition and prisoners, the decimation after Mier, Texas annexation, and, finally, the opening battles of the Mexican-American War fought on Texas soil. News of the conflict created great excitement, and publishers, printers, and mapmakers were quick to supply images and imprints to document a truly international event with resounding consequences. The present print is an amazing example of the iconography of that period, which seemingly captures the three genres—images, maps, and text embodying the propagandistic history associated with Manifest Destiny.

The map apparently was a hastily contrived affair, using an earlier block which was cut to show the area of interest, resulting in loss of some names, such as “Ihuachuca” for “Chihuahua.”


Auction 24 Abstracts

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