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2007 Catalog > 9. Carey & Lea, Map of Arkansa

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The True First Appearance of Long’s Seminal Map of the Transmississippi West

9. Henry Charles Carey & Isaac Lea / Stephen H. Long. “Map of Arkansa and other Territories of the United States [Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Arkansas Territory]” (Philadelphia: Carey & Lee, 1822). First edition. Published in A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas. Double-page copperplate engraving with fine, bright original hand color; Arkansas in yellow. 14 1/2 x 14 3/4" at neat line. Sheet size: 17 1/2 x 21 3/4" including letterpress text panels flanking the map, which present statistical information about the territory. Some transference in several areas; minor toning at sheet edges. Overall excellent with bright pastel color.

Price: SOLD.

As one of the initial group of U.S. topographers who surveyed and mapped the West, Stephen H. Long left his mark on the history of American exploration with a series of five expeditions made from 1816 to 1823. He covered territory from the Atlantic Coast to the Rocky Mountains and from the headwaters of the Canadian River in New Mexico to the shores of Lake Winnipeg in Canada, probably 26,000 miles overall.

This early map of the Transmississippi region by Carey and Lea represents the true first appearance of Stephen Long's seminal map of the region drained by the Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers—one of the most important maps of the American West. It shows all of Long's travels in the Midwest and Southwest during the important years following the War of 1812. Basing their version on Long's manuscript “mother map” of 1821, Carey and Lea published the map in their atlas of 1822, a full year before it appeared in the report on Long’s Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, which they also published.

Although ostensibly of “Arkansa” Territory, the map shows the enormous tract of land spanning Illinois, Missouri, “Wisconsan annexed to Michigan,” and the huge unsettled territory of the Missouri Basin. “Arkansa” itself encompasses most of present-day Oklahoma, while Missouri and Illinois are shown in their final forms. “James Peak” (Pike's Peak) and “Highest Peak” (eventually named for Long) appear in the Rockies. Indian tribes, villages, and lands are noted, and Long's famous nomenclature—the “Great Desert”—for the high plains from Nebraska to Oklahoma is in evidence south of the Platte River. In his journal, Long wrote that this area was "unfit for cultivation and of course uninhabitable by a people depending upon agriculture"—an ironic observation for land that would later become the nation’s breadbasket. Cary and Lea's text along the sides of the map adds interesting early settlement information about geography, climate, Indians, population, and government.

A very nice example of Cary and Lea's famous version of Major Long's mother map of the American West.

Refs.: Howes, J 41; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. II, no. 348, and pp. 77–81.

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