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2007 Catalog > 17. Emory, Map of the United States and Territories.


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Emory’s Version of the 1857 U.S. and Mexican Boundary Survey
with Hall’s Geological Map


17. William H. Emory. “Map of the United States and Their Territories Between the Mississippi and the Pacific Ocean and Part of Mexico” (Washington, D.C.: Selmar Siebert, 1857–1858). Published in Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, by William H. Emory, vol. I (Sen. Ex. Doc No. 108., 34th Cong., 1st sess.). Lithographed folding map in black and white, as issued. 20 1/4 x 22 3/4" at neat line. Sheet size: 22 3/4 x 25 1/5". Some faint transference and a couple of minor spots. Overall excellent condition for this type of map. Offered separately: $1,200.

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James Hall and J. P. Lesley. “Map Illustrating the General Geological Features of the Country West of the Mississippi” (New York: Sarony, Major & Knapp, [1857–58]). Published in Emory, Report. Lithograph with fine, bright, original full hand color. 20 x 23" at neat line. Sheet size: 22 3/4 x 25 1/2", margin slightly close on left. Fine. Offered separately: $2,000.

Price: SOLD.

William H. Emory’s Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey has long been acknowledged as one of the classics of Texas and Western history. “On August 15, 1854,” notes William Goetzmann, “Major William H. Emory was ordered by the Secretary of the Interior to complete the marking of the United States–Mexican boundary subsequent to the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. In addition he was ordered to make ‘an examination of the country contiguous to the line to ascertain its practicability for a railway route to the Pacific’ and also to collect information ‘in reference to the agricultural and mineral character of the country and its present occupants.’ The result of Emory’s labors on this survey . . . were finally published in three massive volumes between 1857 and 1859. Emory’s Report was perhaps the most complete scientific description ever made of the lands, the people, and the border country. . . .”

The first volume of the Report contained the two important maps offered here. The first, Map of the United States and Their Territories, summarizes the extent of the U.S. government’s knowledge of its vast western lands just prior to the Civil War. It is essentially the master map for the survey, containing most of Emory’s geodetic and geographical information, to which he added data from various regional surveys as well as relevant new material. It documented the West as it was actually known, but also revealed what remained to be explored. As such it became one of the most important cartographic classics of American history.

Goetzmann notes that Emory’s Report also provided a monumental contribution to American geology. The second map offered here was prepared by scientist James Hall to accompany the geological section of the report, and it reflects the state-of-the-art of that science in the mid-nineteenth century. The geological section, writes Goetzmann, “was the first attempt by reputable scientists to construct an all-over version of the trans-Mississippi geography. . . . In addition to this the three geologists—Parry, Schott and Hall—attempted to derive causal principles from the mass of observed data and thus to reconstruct the geological history of the region.”

Together these two are a finely matched pair representing the most significant cartographical and geological contributions of Emory’s great survey of the Trans-America West.

Refs.: Goetzmann, Army Explorations of the American West, p. 201; Martin & Martin, plate no. 44 (illus.); Wagner, 291;Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. III, nos. 822 (illus. after p. 241), 827.

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