A unique manuscript map of the straits between Cuba and the Bahama Islands, drawn in Philadelphia in late 1781. The map shows the northern coastline of Cuba from Havana to Cape Maize and the waters to the north. Taylor has depicted the hills and mountains as seen from just off the coast, as well as indicating where one could see trees from 6 to 8 leagues off shore and shrubs from 2 to 3 leagues off. It details islands (many named), shoals, inlets and soundings, as well as indicates anchorages in the channel.
The map was drawn by Richard Taylor, a Philadelphia sea captain. [The information on Richard Taylor is based on extensive research but is not proven. There were evidently a number of Richard Taylors on the East Coast in the late eighteenth century, including likely at least one other who made manuscript maps. Full notes on our research are available upon request.] Born in 1731, Taylor sailed in the Caribbean for a number of years before retiring to land jobs in the 1760s. He was the first clerk for The Society for the Relief of Poor and Distressed Masters of Ships, their Widows and Children (known as the Sea Captains Club), serving from the founding on 7 October 1765 to 1770. He also was listed in the later years of the eighteenth century as a teacher of navigation and manuscript map maker.
There was a great need for accurate and up-to-date sea charts for American captains throughout the eighteenth century, a need not easily met, especially during the years of the American Revolution, by printed charts which at the time pretty much all came from Europe. The demand for working charts was, instead, often met by American chart-makers who had access to printed charts and would make careful, full-sized copies of these charts in order to sell them to captains in need.
This is just such a chart, which includes the legend "And is now carefully Dedicated to the purchaser Captain____.by his most obliged Friend &c Richard Taylor." The lack of a name in the space indicates that Taylor may have made the chart on speculation but never found a buyer, or used this one as a template for copying, then selling the copy to a mariner bound for Cuba.
The chart that Taylor copied was an 1762 map by Captain Robert Bishop, a somewhat obscure British hydrographer, who stated in the key of one of his maps that he was on board the HMS Alarm, a Royal Navy frigate, during its tour of the Caribbean in 1758-60. Probably as a result of surveys during this voyage, Bishop wrote a book of sailing directions for the Gulf and Windward Passages, and also published a number of charts of the area in the early 1760s. His charts are very rare and known in some instances only by later printings. Laurie & Whittle, for instance, re-published six Bishop charts of the straits around the Bahamas in the 1790s, including a version of this chart, for which there is no known example of the first edition (making this manuscript the earliest known version of this chart).
The survival of this manuscript map is due to either that Taylor did not find a buyer or that he had retained this manuscript as a template, for a map purchased and used by a captain in the 1780s would likely not have survived. The story of its history is partially told by two notes on the chart. The first says "Endorsed with cloth by S.B. Ives, 8th & 9th Dec. 1829," where "endorsed" is used in the sense of 'put on the back,' derived from "en" (put on) and "dos" (back). S.B. Ives was almost certainly a partner in W. & S.B. Ives, book-sellers and binders in Salem, Massachusetts, from as early as 1824. Interestingly, besides this business, the firm is credited with being the first major American manufacturer of games.
The other note says "Estate of Mercy Gibbs." Mercy Prescott Gibbs (d. 1809) was the widow of Henry Gibbs, who had a mercantile business in Salem, Massachusetts, which explains why the chart was in Salem to be backed in 1829. Mercy was the sister of Rebecca Prescott Sherman, the second wife of Roger Sherman, who was one of the nation's founders, and the only one who was a signer of the Continental Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Sherman, from Connecticut, obviously spent considerable time in Philadelphia, so it is possible that he was the conduit for this chart traveling from Philadelphia to New England. $28,000
J.H. Young. "Mitchell's Reference and Distance Map of the United States." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, 1846. Wall map; mounted on linen, varnished and with original rollers. 55 1/2 x 70 1/2. Engraving. Full original hand color. With some waterstaining and flaking at top, but else very good. Rumsey: 538. Denver.
A rare example of the important 1846 edition of S. Augustus Mitchell's popular wall map of the United States, drawn by J.H. Young. The "Reference and Distance Map" series began in 1834 and Mitchell regularly updated the new issues with current information. The main map shows the United States to the range of states just west of the Mississippi with great detail. Towns, rivers, lakes, and roads are shown throughout, and each county is colored in a contrasting shade. The particular significance of the map issued in 1846 comes from its inclusion of new information related to the American west. In the previous editions of this map, Mitchell had an inset map, "General Map of the United States," in the lower right corner. On this edition, Mitchell replaced this with a new inset map, "A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California" (19 x 21), which shows the region extending from the Mississippi to the Pacific coastline, and from the Rio Grande to southern Canada.
This area was of particular interest in 1846 because of two recent, related events. In 1845, Texas had been admitted to the Union as a new state, which prompted Mexico, in 1846, to invade Texas, thus precipitating the Mexican-American war. This inset was the first appearance of this map, which later the same year was issued by Mitchell as a folding, pocket map, and it is one of the first maps of just the Trans-Mississippi West. Mitchell used the latest information on the American west which was available at the time. Among his sources were Arrowsmith's 1841 map of Texas, Fremont's and Emory's maps of their explorations in the region, data from the Lewis & Clark expedition, Nicollet's map of the region between the Mississippi and the Missouri, Wilkes' map of Oregon. Mitchell shows the Oregon Territory borders according to the recent Compromise of 1846. $8,500
Alexander de Humboldt. "Carte Generale Du Royaume De La Nouvelle Espagne." Paris,: A. de Humboldt, 1809. Two sheets joined: 39 1/4 x 27 3/8. Engraving by Barriere, script by L. Aubert pere. Hand colored. Very good condition. Cf. Martin & Martin: 23; Wheat: 272. Denver.
The 'mother map' for New Spain at the beginning of the nineteenth century, by Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt (1769-1859) was one of the greatest scientific explorers of all time. At the end of the eighteenth century, he received permission to visit and explore the Spanish territories in the Americas, a region mostly unknown in Europe at the time. Humboldt traveled from Venezuela to Mexico, recording his observations and discoveries. He settled in Mexico City for about a year, gathering all available information. As a world renowned scientist, Humboldt had Royal patronage and so access to every document in the Spanish archives in Mexico, hitherto inaccessible to Europeans. With all these resources, Humboldt was able to produce a number of excellent maps, including this one of New Spain, which contains not only today's Mexico, but all of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, and parts of surrounding states. This map contained by far the best geographic depiction of the region to the time.
This map, which Carl Wheat called a "truly magnificent cartographic achievement," was drawn by Humboldt in 1803-1804 in Mexico and then was revised and printed in 1809, appearing in Humboldt's atlas of 1811. The map was ground-breaking in its accuracy and detail: as Wheat further stated, "For the area of the American West which it included it was undoubtedly the most important and most accurate map that had yet appeared." It became the prototype rendering for the region for the next several decades and was considered by Streeter to be one of the six most important maps for a Texas collection. Interestingly, Humboldt left a copy of his map in Washington on his return to Europe, and he felt that this was the source for the copies of his mapping, by Arrowsmith and Pike, which appeared even before his map was official published. $17,500
F.W. von Egloffstein after surveys by John N. Macomb. "Map of Explorations and Surveys in New Mexico and Utah...by Capt. J.N. Macomb Topl. Engrs....1806." New York: Geographical Institute, 1864. 30 3/4 x 37 1/4. Tinted aquatint engraving. Some separation and very light discoloration at folds. Overall, very good condition. Wheat: 983. Denver.
A nice example of what Carl Wheat called "one of the most beautiful maps ever published by the Army," a map that "is a landmark map for various regions." It shows the region around the "four corners" in the American Southwest, based on surveys from an 1860 expedition led by Captain John N. Macomb to explore the Old Spanish Trail from New Mexico towards Utah. The expedition is important in its confirmation that the Green and "Grand" (now Colorado) Rivers joined to form the Colorado just above the Grand Canyon. The map was printed in 1864, but didn't actually get published until 1875 because of the Civil War.
Wheat's comments on its importance is not only based on its geographical significance, but also because of its documentation of the routes of various explorer's routes, including Macomb's as well as those of Gunnison, Marcy, and Father Escalante and others. The last factor in Wheat's judgments is it striking appearance, where it looks almost three dimensional. This is the result of a technique of depicting topography developed by F.W. Egloffstein, where his intent was to "give his map the appearance of a small plaster model of the country." This was achieved by applying very fine lines on the plate by use of a ruling machine (done by Samuel Sartain), which were then exposed to acid to varying degrees to achieve the desired appearance. Only a few maps where made using this difficult process and this is the finest example thereof. The map is a wonderful depiction of the main drainage areas of the American Southwest, as well as many other features such as pueblos, archaeological sites and settlements, all conveyed with a remarkable appearance that few other maps have every matched. $1,800
William J. Keeler. "National Map of the Territory of the United States from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean." Washington: W.J. Keeler, 1867. Separately issued map, mounted on original linen for folding and with original covers. 47 5/8 x 57 5/ 8. Drawn by N. du Bois. Lithograph by J.F. Gedney. Full original color. With some partial separations at folds. Else, very good condition. Martin & Martin: 47; Wheat: 1170. Denver.
One of the great maps of the American West, Keeler's monumental image shows the region poised on the eve of the huge development that was soon to follow. After the territory of the United States reached the Pacific coastline, and with the outgrowth of myriad reasons for the citizens to desire better access to the western lands-gold, land, and other tremendous opportunities-there built a tremendous demand for the construction of railroads lines to the West. Thus was set in motion a series of government surveys, resulting in an 1855 map by Lt. G.K. Warren, which proposed four possible railroad routes to the Pacific. Though the nation's attention was directed elsewhere during the Civil War, western expansion quickly reopened with a great rush of post-war settlers and speculators. Growing public interest in the region's character, geography, and railroads spurred William J. Keeler, an Indian Bureau engineer, to privately produce this excellent and highly detailed map of the entire western United States.
As Susan Schulten comments in Mapping the Nation, Keeler's map "anticipates the momentum of western development…His map celebrated the economic potential of the West...by highlighting mineral lands, transportation routes, and progress of the [national] survey." Carl Wheat calls it, "A complete Railroad Map, the only one published which shows the whole of the great Pacific Railroad routes and their projections and branches, together with all other railroads in the States and Territories bordering the Mississippi on both sides."
Keeler based his rendering in part on the Warren map and the Pacific railroad surveys, but he added much extra information, especially on the railroads. With access to the records of the Indian Bureau, Keeler added data on many Indian settlements and reservations, the latter identified with a color code. Besides this detail, Keeler also showed forts, exploration and travel routes, settlements, mines, and more-much of this information depicted for the first time on a general map. At the beginning of the huge western expansion of the post-Civil War period, this was the most detailed and accurate of all maps of the American West. Privately issued and sold as a separate publication, mounted on linen and folded into covers, this is a rare and most desirable cartographic document of considerable historic note. $6,800
J.W. Abert and W.G. Peck. "Map of the Territory of New Mexico, made by order of Brig. Gen. S.W. Kearny, under the instructions from Lieut. W.H. Emory, U.S.T.E. by Lieut's J.W. Abert and W.G. Peck. U.S.T.E. 1846-47." Washington: GPO, 1847. 25 x 19 1/2. Lithograph. With folds, as issued. Very good condition. Wheat: 532. Denver.
A seminal map of New Mexico, the first map of the territory, issued in the Emory's Notes of a Military Reconnaissance. Lieutenants Abert and Peck were with the U.S. Army's Topographical Corps of Engineers and they began their survey of New Mexico in 1846, shortly after the Mexican province was captured by the army and two years before it became part of the United States. Abert and Peck had been left behind by Kearny's Army of the West during the war and they surveyed the northern "Rio del Norte" (aka Rio Grande) valley and surrounding areas. Their survey, typically of the work of the Corps, was meticulous and the map is filled with precise detail, showing towns--including Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque--, roads, pueblos, ruins and mines, as well as geographic features like topography and rivers. Locations of Indian tribes is also noted. A fine example of the foundation map for New Mexico. $950
William E. Morris after John Melish. "Map of Pennsylvania, Constructed from the County Surveys authorized by the State; and other original Documents. Revised And Improved Under the supervision of Wm. E. Morris, Civil Engineer." Philadelphia: R.L. Barnes, -1849. Copyright, R.L. Barnes 1848. 50 x 74. Engraving by Edward Yeager. Original hand color. Conserved and mounted on new linen backing. Very good condition.
In 1816, the Pennsylvania State legislature passed a law to produce an official state map, and this project was given to the supervision of Philadelphia mapmaker John Melish. Melish called for each county to produce a standardized map, which he would then use to compile a full state map. He worked for six years on this map, which was finally produced in 1822, with revised editions issued in 1824, 1826, and 1832. As each of these maps was produced, one could see the internal growth and development of the state, with new roads and canals, settlements and other features making their appearance with each new issue. By the 1830s, however, it became clear that the tremendous growth of the state demanded an updated and revised version of this official state map. Civil Engineer William E. Morris was authorized to gather updated information from each county, and he proceeded to 'revise and improve' Melish's map, with the new engravings done by Philadelphia craftsman Edward Yeager. The map was copyrighted and first issued in 1848 and this example was issued a year later with some updating. The size of this map and its myriad public uses determined that the map would be issued in the format of a wall map. Its sheets were joined, mounted on canvas, and varnished so that it could be hung in public plates throughout the state. Added along the bottom of the map are several tables of information. These include: "Anthracite Coal Trade of Pennsylvania," "Public Works of Pennsylvania," "Approximate Estimate of Bituminous Coal Mined in 1847," and "Statistical Table Shewing The Prominent Features of each County." It map is a superb picture of Pennsylvania at mid-century and it is the last of the great engraved maps of the state. $6,500
Thomas Hutchins. "Plan of the Battle near Bushy-Run, Gained by Colonel Bouquet, over the Delawares, Shawnese, Mingoes, Wyandoes, Mohikons, Miamies & Ottawas; on the 5th and 6th. of August 1763." Along with diagram of British line of march and dispositions during attack. From A General Topography of North America and the West Indies. London: R. Sayer & T. Jefferys, 1768. Two plans on folio sheet: map 8 7/8 x 6 1/4 (platemark); diagram 8 1/2 x 6 3/8. Engraving by Thomas Jefferys. Very good condition. Phillips: Maps of America, p. 182.
A very rare map and diagram of the Battle of Bushy Run from Jeffery's important General Topography. The Battle of Bushy Run was a very important event in the early development of the country, today unfortunately mostly forgotten. During the French and Indian War, the British had tried to win over from the French the tribes-Delaware, Shawnees and Iroquois-located in what is today western Pennsylvania and in the upper Ohio River basin. These tribes remained mostly neutral believing that this would lead to an end to British encroachments west of the Allegheny Mountains. This belief was shattered when, following the conclusion of the French and Indian War, European colonists began to move into western Pennsylvania and beyond in a steady stream, and the British continued construction of Fort Pitt, a large brick and stone fortification.
Meanwhile, Pontiac--an Ottawa war chief--was gaining a following in the mid-west for his campaign to drive the British out of the region. On May 8, 1763, Pontiac and his Ottawas lay siege to Fort Detroit, beginning what has been called Pontiac's Rebellion. Because of the British intrusions and broken promises, the tribes in eastern tribes decided to join the rebellion, destroying Forts LeBoeuf, Venango, and Presqu'Isle and attacking Fort Pitt in June 1763. Colonel Henry Bouquet was sent, with three regiments, to march west to relieve and resupply the hard-pressed defenders of Fort Pitt. After leaving Fort Ligonier, and about 25 miles east of Fort Pitt near Bushy Run, Bouquet was attacked on August 5 by a large force of Indians, who, once they learned of Bouquet's march, had left the siege of Fort Pitt to lay an ambush. Over the two days of the battle, about 50 British died and 60 were wounded, while the Indian force-described by Bouquet as numbering about 400 but by the Indians as about a quarter of that-lost between 30 and 50. The Indians were driven from the field and Bouquet marched on to rescue Fort Pitt. This battle off in the wilds of western Pennsylvania had an important impact on the course of American history, for it ended any hope the Indians in western Pennsylvania had of preserving their lands and opened up the entire region to more and more British settlement. This was, in effect, the beginning of the flood of colonists from their original settlements on the East Coast across the Allegheny Mountains and into the mid-west. $2,800
J.T. Lawson. "Lawson's Map from Actual Survey of the Gold, Silver & Quicksilver Regions of Upper California. Exhibiting the Mines, Diggings, Roads, Paths, Houses, Mill, Stores, Missions &c. &c. by J.T. Lawson, Esq. Cala. Together with a miniature map of the United States, Mexico and South America. Showing the different routs [sic] to California &c. &c." New York: Dewitt & Davenport, 1849. Separately issued map on banknote paper; folded into original booklet with stamped title. 14 1/2 x 20 1/2. Lithograph by G. Snyder; "Engraved in stone by Edw. Herrlein." A few small separations at folds. Some light darkening at a few folds and stain from glue where attached to booklet. Overall, very good condition. Wheat: Maps of the California Gold Region: 108. Denver.
An important pocket map of the California gold regions issued to year of the California gold rush. Pocket maps were issued for places people were interested in traveling to, and no place in the United States was of more interest for travelers in 1849 than the California gold regions. This map was intended for those heading to California to participate in the great gold rush. It was only the second map to be issued of just the gold fields. It contains all the information such a '49er' would need, including indications of all the mines, diggings, roads, mills, and other features of note. In the upper corner is a small map showing the various routes to California, and the main map extends from San Francisco, where most would land, north beyond the gold fields. The map is based on an 1848 by Edward Ord, but with some new information added to reflect later events. The map is almost as much a promotional document as a cartographic one, with notes scattered all over such as "Gold found on all these streams," and "Low Clay Hills and Gravel containing Gold." A note at the bottom lists the distances from Sutter's Fort to the lower and upper mines. A map like this, intended for use by travelers and often taken out into the field, would have a very low rate of survival, so it is especially surprising to find a copy in such excellent condition as this. It is a wonderful survivor of that important part of American history. $11,500
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