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Antique Maps of California

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San Francisco Bay
Maps from Jean Francois de Galaup, Comte de la Pérouse's Atlas de Voyage de la Pérouse. Paris, 1797. Engravings. With some light spotting and a few soft creases in places, but overall very good condition. Denver.

Jean Francois de Galaup, Comte de la Pérouse (1741-1788) was a French naval officer and navigator who participated in a number of naval actions against the British, eventually rising to the rank of Commodore. Following the end of the American Revolution, King Louis XVI appointed Pérouse to lead a French expedition around the world, inspired by their rivalry with the British and trying to out-do James Cook's famous expeditions to the Pacific.

Pérouse sailed with two ships, the Boussole and the Artrolabe, and an extensive library, including the narrative of Cook, leaving France in 1785 and spent the next several years criss-crossing the Pacific, including visits to both Asian and North American coasts, and islands in the ocean such as Hawaii. Pérouse made many discoveries and produced careful maps. Unfortunately, on his return voyage, the ships ran into a terrible storm and both were shipwrecked on the island of Vankoro (of the Santa Cruz group to the east of the Solomon Islands). There appear to have been some survivors, for as late as 1790, smoke signals were spotted coming from the island, though no one ever investigated and none of Pérouse's expedition ever returned to France. Luckily, Pérouse had sent his reports and maps back to France from an earlier stop in Australia and these were finally published in 1797. Pérouse sailed along the California coast in 1786 and these maps were included in his report.

Derby CA gold fields
George Horatio Derby. "Sketch of General Riley's Route Through the Mining Districts. July and Aug 1849." From Message From the President of the United States, Transmitting Information in Answer to a Resolution of the House of the 31st of December, 1849, on the subject of California and New Mexico. Washington: 1849. 21 x 19 1/2. Lithograph by Ackermann's Lithr., New York. With folds as issued. Very good condition. Wheat: Maps of the California Gold Region: 79. Denver.

An important map of the California gold regions drawn in its earliest days. Up to April 1849, Upper California was administered by a series of military governors. On April 12, Lt. Col. Bennett C. Riley was instructed to take over the administration of civil affairs, in effect to prepare California for statehood. As Acting Governor, Rley called for an election for delegates to write a constitution, the convention taking pace in September that year. The constitution written was adopted by a general election in November 1849, leading to an elected government and then statehood on September 9, 1850. During his term, in July and August 1849, Riley took a tour of the mining regions; he was accompanied by Lt. George H. Derby, who drew this map showing the region with Riley's tour marked upon it. The map was based on a sketch by Derby, copied by J. Mc. H. Hollingsworth.

Carl Wheat notes the importance of this map in its record of the early California gold rush. "…Derby's map graphically shows how the miners were beginning to swarm up the Sierra streams into the general area which he designated as 'Diggings.'" It shows the location of many of the mining camps for the first time, some of the names of which have not survived. Among those shown are Mormon Island (mistakenly labeled "Mormont" by Hollingsworth), Coloma (mislabeled "Colluma") and the wonderful note of "Tent." Besides the mining camps, topography is clearly presented, as are roads, towns, rivers and bays as far south as Monterey. $850

Desilver Western
"A New Map of the State of California, The Territories of Oregon, Washington, Utah & New Mexico." Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1856. 16 x 12 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

Charles Desilver, one of the many publishers working in Philadelphia during the mid-nineteenth century, issued an atlas of maps based on the famous Tanner-Mitchell-Cowperthwait series. Desilver used much the same information as originally drawn in the 1840s, but updated the maps with new counties, roads, towns, etc. Here the country west of the Rockies is depicted with the state of California and the rest comprised of just four territories: Washington, Oregon, Utah and New Mexico. Settlement in those territories was quite sparse at the time, with some cities shown, and a number of counties developed in the western part of the northern most territories. The map was issued just after the Gadsden Treaty (1854) so the current southern border with Mexico is depicted. Of note are depictions of the southern route proposed for the Pacific Railroad, the Spanish trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, the routes of Lewis & Clark and Fremont, and the Oregon Trail. Forts are indicated, as are the territories of various Indian tribes. Of interest is the small section entitled "Middle Park," which is shown as part of Utah, but which is currently part of Colorado (the western part of which is shown as part of Kansas Territory. Overall, a terrific and up-to-date map of the western United States. $575

"California." New York: J.H. Colton & Co, 1856. 15 1/2 x 13 3/4. Lithograph. Full original hand-coloring. Some transference of text from adjoining page. Else, very good condition. In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The J.H. Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. This map of California, with its fine detail, is a strong example of their successful work. First issued as a pocket map in 1853, this map was one of the first maps of just California and it was very influential in the mapping of the state subsequently. The counties are shown with contrasting pastel shades and rivers, lakes, swamps, and orography is neatly presented. Also of interest are the indications of the early road network in the state. A detailed inset map shows San Francisco. $275

San Francisco Bay
Charles F. Hoffmann. "Map of the Region Adjacent to the Bay of San Francisco." Geological Survey of California, 1868. Second edition, from 1867 first edition base: "with local revisions & municipal township boundaries added from information collected by A.J. Doolittle Esq." Separately issued wall map; mounted on original linen and with original rollers. 45 1/2 x 34 1/2. Lithograph by Julius Bien. Outline hand color. With manuscript note in bottom left: "This map is the property of William J. Coliman (sp?), 1871." Very good condition. Denver.

A very rare wall map of the San Francisco Bay area based on the information of the Geological Survey of California. This survey was authorized in 1860, with Josiah Dwight Whitney appointed as State Geologist and set in charge of the survey. It was actively pursued for four years, but because of lack of funding, it continued only intermittently until it was discontinued in 1873. The survey produced only a few maps, including this important map of the region around San Francisco Bay. First issued in 1867, this updated edition came out a year later, to be followed by editions in 1870 and 1873. The map is based primarily on the surveys of Charles F Hoffman, a German native who came to the United States and worked as the topographer for Lander's 1857 survey of the Rocky Mountains. The Geological Survey of California was historically important because of the contributions of Hoffman, along with Clarence King and William Brewer, for it really established triangulation and careful topographical mapping using contour lines as the standard which henceforth was used in other American government surveys. William Goetzmann says, in Exploration and Empire, "Whitney's method made possible the later large-scale mapping of the West." This map was by far the most detailed and accurate map of the Bay area to date. The map exhibits a comprehensive picture of the towns, cities, railroads, and roads, all set into a graphic topographical picture of the region. The lack of funding would seem to be partly responsible for the small number of these maps which were produced and certainly have survived until today. A rare and important map. CS OUT ON APPROVAL

Asher & Adams. "California & Nevada, South Portion." Washington: 1874. 16 1/4 x 23. Lithograph. Original hand color. Short tears and chips in margins, a few just into image. Overall, good condition.

In their atlas of 1874, Asher & Adams included two separate maps of parts of California, reflecting the size and importance of the state and allowing for greater detail; this map shows the southern regions. The Washington cartographic publishing firm presented this information in a clear fashion, and the map has a very attractive, light pastel coloring. $75

Gray San Francisco
"San Francisco." Philadelphia: O.W. Gray, 1875. 14 3/4 x 12. Lithograph. Original color. Very good condition. Denver.

A nicely detailed map of San Francisco about a quarter century after the gold rush. The map was issued by the Philadelphia firm of O.W. Gray, which began its publishing around mid-century and published regional and U.S. atlases up to the 1880s. This map shows streets, hills, parks, and many of the locations of the weirs and docks along the bay. Also indicated is the topography of the city and the several railroads coming into the city and providing San Francisco with its life blood of commerce. JT OUT ON APPROVAL

Mitchell California
"County Map of the State of California." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1880. 21 1/2 x 15. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

By the 1880s California was highly developed as a state with diversified economic resources and a transportation network. The earliest Mitchell maps of this state emphasized the gold regions, but in the post-Civil War era much more was going on. San Francisco was no longer a stopping place for miners but an integral link in the American connection to the Orient through the Pacific Ocean, and it now warranted a large inset map in the top right corner and a smaller map of the Bary and vicinity in the lower left. Also of note in this map are the railroad lines shown coming in from the east and running north-south through the state. $275

"California and Nevada." Philadelphia: O.W. Gray & Son, 1881. 26 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A large-scale, detailed map of the two states, with impressive information on towns, lakes, rivers, counties, and especially the topography. In 1869, the first continental railroad connected these states with the west, followed in 1883 with Southern Pacific RR. This map shows the region as prospering from the first, but just before the completion of the latter. The rail lines in the states are indicated, including the Central Pacific RR, a railroad running from Los Angeles south to Yuma, and the connection by rail between Sacramento and Los Angeles. Also of interest are the insets of the city of Sacramento, the vicinity of San Francisco, and Yosemite Valley. $175

Arbuckle California
"California." New York: Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company, 1889. 3 x 5. Chromolithograph by Donaldson Brothers. Very good condition.

A delightful map of California issued in 1889 by the Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company. This firm was founded by John and Charles Arbuckle of Pittsburgh, PA. They developed a machine to weigh, fill, seal and label coffee in paper packages, which allowed them to become the largest importer and seller of coffee in the world. Their most famous promotional program involved the issuing of several series of small, colorful trading cards, one of which was included in every package of Arbuckle's Coffee. These series included cards with sports, food, historic scenes, and-one of the most popular-maps. The latter cards included not only a map, but also small illustrations "which portrays the peculiarities of the industry, scenery, etc." of the region depicted. This card of California includes vignette scenes of fruit, wine and the Golden Gate. $70

Rand McNally California 1899
[California]. From Rand McNally & Company's Indexed Atlas of the World. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1899. 25 3/4 x 19. Cerograph. Very good condition. Denver.

A late nineteenth century map from the early days of the Rand, McNally & Co. firm out of Chicago, a company that would shift the center of cartographic publishing from the east coast to the mid-west. Typical of the firm's work, this map has very good detail precisely and neatly exhibited. Topographic and social information, counties, roads, and many more details are neatly illustrated. Aesthetically and cartographically, it foreshadows the maps of the twentieth century. This map includes insets, one of the southern coast and one of the San Francisco area. $150

Rand McNally. "Standard Map of California." (Northern). From Commercial Atlas of America. 1925. 18 3/4 x 26. Key of California railroad lines. With inset map of San Francisco & Vicinity. $85

"Western States Section Rand McNally new Commercial Map of the United States" Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1925. Features from Denver Colorado to the Western Coast. 25 3/4 x 18 1/2. Very good condition. $150

"California." Chicago: Geographical Publishing Co., ca. 1930. 21 x 15 1/4. Chromolithograph. Very good condition. With inset maps of San Francisco & Los Angeles. $80


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