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2007 Catalog > 36. Macomb, Map of Explorations and Surveys in New Mexico and Utah.

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The Outstanding Macomb / Egloffstein Map of the Four Corners

One of the most beautiful maps ever published by the Army.”
— Carl Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West

36. John N. Macomb / Friedrich W. Egloffstein. “Map of Explorations and Surveys in New Mexico and Utah . . . 1860” (New York: Geographical Institute, Baron F. W. von Egloffstein, 1864). Published in Report of an exploring expedition from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the juncture of the Grand and Green Rivers of the great Colorado of the West in 1859 (Washington, D. C.: U.S. Engineer Department, 1876) . Aquatint engraving in black and white with tint. 28 3/8 x 34 1/8" at neat line. Sheet size: 30 3/4 x 37 1/4". Areas of light transference; minor toning at old folds. Overall, fine.

Price: SOLD.

In the summer of 1859, Captain John N. Macomb, chief topographical officer in New Mexico, was ordered to lead an expedition northward along the Old Spanish Trail to locate a route into Utah. The geologist John S. Newberry, fresh from his ground-breaking expedition with Joseph C. Ives the year before, accompanied the party. The results of Macomb’s survey, Newberry’s important geological report, and the illuminating map of the expedition, offered here, were not published until 1875. The map was actually engraved in 1864, but its official publication was delayed by the Civil War.

The importance of the expedition lies in the party’s discovery that the Green and Grand rivers unite to form the Colorado, which, just below this juncture, flows into “the profound chasm of the Colorado Canyon,” in Newberry’s words, revealing to Newberry the drainage of the central part of the Far West. Macomb’s map details these relationships for the first time, conveyed through the striking topographical renderings of Egloffstein. Wheat calls it a landmark, “because it is the first to show a trail to the junction of the Green and Grand. Second, because it is the culmination of Egloffstein’s method of ruling maps and applying acid for varying times to convey the idea of altitude. And, third, because of the numerous trails of other explorers contained on it. It will stand for a long time as perhaps the finest map produced by this curious and revealing, yet evanescent, method.”

The map is a superb rendition of the Four Corners area with tremendous detailing that includes Egloffstein’s remarkable topography, well-known natural features, pueblos, explorers’ routes, towns, and archaeological sites. An exciting document of a highly important expedition.

Refs.: Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, pp. 394–397; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. IV, pp. 142–143 (illus. opposite p. 142), no. 983.

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