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2007 Catalog > 61. Spaight, The Grand Cañon District.

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“The First Reliable Statistical Account of Texas”

Especially fine for the cattle industry of the period
— John H. Jenkins, Basic Texas Books

61. Ashley W. Spaight. The Resources, Soil, and Climate of Texas. Report of the Commissioner of Insurance, Statistics, and History (Galveston: A. H. Belo &. Co., Printers, 1882). 8vo cloth-covered boards, blind-embossed design, title in gilt on spine. 360 pgs. Decorative medallions pasted on front and back covers by a previous owner. Previous owner’s bookplate on front pastedown. Spine is sun-faded. Contains the rare folding map by Spaight: “Official Map of the State of Texas” (Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1882). Wax-engraved in full color by county. Railroad routes indicated in bright red lines. 30 3/4 x 32" at neat line. Sheet: 32 1/8 x 33 1/2". Map includes four statistical tables: “The Area, Population, and Assessed Value of Taxable Property of the State, by Counties,” “The Mean Annual and Mean Monthly Rainfall,” “The Railway Lines in Operation and Railway Mileage in the State,” “State Finances.” Map has a few corner splits. Overall, book and map are fine.

Price: SOLD.

Commissioner Ashley Spaight worked nearly two years from April 1880 to December 1882 compiling data for what Jenkins calls “the first reliable statistical account of Texas.” Spaight presents a descriptive and statistical review of 170 organized counties in which he covers the populations in 1870 and 1880, property values, land prices, agricultural products, railways, and schools. A section at the end discusses unorganized counties, which fall mostly in the Panhandle and Southwest Texas.

Jenkins notes that “Spaight’s volume is the first official attempt to accurately describe the state. . . . Previous compilations were all more or less erratic in the accuracy of their data, necessarily derived privately and all too frequently presented with ulterior promotional motives.” In addition to the other data, “full details on cattle and stock raising are presented, providing the most reliable statistics on the Texas cattle industry during this key period.” Jenkins singles out the large folding map as “the first modern and truly accurate map of Texas.”

An excellent addition to any collection of Texas materials, the book and map are the first accurate published accounts of Texas in the modern era.

Ref.: John H. Jenkins, Basic Texas Books, no. 194, pp. 513–514.

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