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2006 Catalog > William Darby, United States including Louisiana

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19. William Darby. “Map of the United States including Louisiana” (New York: Kirk & Mercein, 1818). Published in Emigrant’s Guide to the Western and Southwestern States. Copperplate engraving with bright original outline hand color for the states east of the Mississippi. 18 1/8 x 22 1/4" at neat line. Overall toning, trimmed nearly to neat line, old folds visible. Very good overall.

Price: SOLD.

William Darby was an American geographer and cartographer who emigrated from Pennsylvania to Mississippi Territory in 1799. In 1804 he was appointed deputy surveyor in the United States General Land Office and he began gathering material for a map of Louisiana, which proved to be highly influential. Published by John Melish in 1816, the map’s valuable information on Louisiana was incorporated into Melish’s very important 1816 map of the United States. In 1818, Darby published his Emigrant’s Guide to the Western and Southwestern States, in which the present map appeared. Notes Wagner-Camp: “Although written with an emphasis on the more settled regions of Ohio and Mississippi valleys, this guide contains data about the trans-Mississippi country, based only in part on previous accounts. Darby[’s] . . . geographical interest and personal knowledge from various explorations in Texas, Louisiana, and along the Canadian border gave him a voice in the delineation of the boundaries of the United States in both areas. Texas, he wrote in 1817, is ‘justly claimed’ by the United States, but because ‘its territory is not yet politically under the authority of the United States,’ immigration should not be encouraged as yet.” Darby’s map is startling in its depiction of the topography of the Transmississippi West—he shows ropey ranges of mountains snaking horizontally across latter-day Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The northern boundary of Texas spikes to the 40th parallel. This is an absolutely fascinating early map of the mostly unknown Transmississippi region, for which Darby compensates with much imagination.

Refs.: Howes, D61; Sabin, 19527; Streeter, Texas, part III, vol. I, 1057 (note); Wagner-Camp, 14b; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. II, pp. 67–68, no. 326.

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