2008 Catalog, William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints Home

2008 Catalog > 13. Cram, Map of Kansas

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13. George F. Cram. “Cram’s Railroad & Township Map of Kansas” (Chicago: Geo F. Cram, Proprietor of the Western Map Depot, 66 Lake Street, Chicago, 1878). Lithographed folding pocket map with good original full hand color. 16 x 24" at neat line. Sheet size: 16 ¾ x 21 7/8". Publication date on map altered by publisher. Presented with the original 12mo dark green paper wrappers with title and vignette of a steam train printed on cover. Back cover has an advertisement listing “Cram’s Indexed Rail Road and Township Pocket Maps.” Inside front cover shows Kansas population by county from the 1870 census. Wrappers are a bit worn at edges. Map is trimmed close at top edge, as issued. Overall excellent.

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George Cram’s marvelous early railroad map of Kansas was both separately issued and also published in two editions of his very rare Standard American Atlas (1875 and 1879) and in his superb New Commercial Atlas of the United States and Territories (1875). The map offered here is the pocket format and was published in 1878. In either format, the map is hard to come by. Cram became one of the most prolific atlas publishers of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, but his early pocket maps of railroads and townships were not issued in editions as large as those of his later work and so are quite scarce.

Click for image of paper wrappers

Created on a scale of 19 miles to an inch, the map contains much interesting information about Kansas in the 1870s. Counties, some bearing archaic names, are indicated in full color and by boundary lines overprinted in red. Township surveys are shown, as are many railroad lines, which appear at this early stage primarily in the northeastern half of the state. The map also shows topographical features, Native American inhabitation, locations of forts, and towns. Settlement is concentrated in the eastern third of the state.

Founded in 1869, the George F. Cram company has outlived almost all other 19th-century map publishers to remain a major name in the industry today. George Cram was born in 1841 and served with the Union forces in the Civil War before going into the map-publishing business with his uncle in 1867. Two years later, he founded his own company in Chicago, publishing maps and atlases, and later, school atlases. He was known particularly for his railroad maps, of which the present is a superb example.

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