2011 Catalog, William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints Home

2011 Catalog > 9. William Wangersheim. “Map of Colorado 1889”



9. A Very Rare Map of Colorado

William Wangersheim. “Map of Colorado 1889” (Chicago: Wm. Wangersheim, 1889). Double-page lithograph with full original hand color. 16 1/8 x 25 1/2" at decorative border. Sheet: 17 3/4 x 29" with full margins. Text on verso: “A Guide to Colorado” and information on the sale of government lands. Light, even age toning; a very minor smudge, l.r. (maybe original printer’s ink); very minor separation and small tear, b.c. Overall fine condition.

Price: SOLD.

This map of Colorado is a later-state edition of H. R. Page’s map, which Page had published in three issues, all of which are very rare. Wangersheim’s 1889 map is also quite rare and presents updated information in comparison with Page’s 1887 edition.

The map first appeared in H. R. Page’s Illustrated Historical Atlas of Wisconsin in 1881. Page’s 1885 issue likely appeared in his United States 1885 Atlas of Central and Midwestern States, as well as at least one illustrated county atlas. The publication of Page’s final issue of this map in 1887 remains undocumented at present, which in itself is an indication of its rarity. (The pagination remains the same in the later two Page editions, possibly suggesting a reissue of the 1885 atlas in 1887.) Wangersheim acquired Page’s atlas maps at some point prior to his 1889 edition, the details of which are equally obscure but the maps were clearly again issued in an atlas format. Since the pagination sequence between the Page (42–43) and Wangersheim (52–53) editions differs significantly, we can assume that Wangersheim either repurposed the atlas or added a number of plates.

Wangersheim’s Colorado records the state thirteen years after it entered the Union in 1876. A comparison with Page’s map reveals the rapid pace of survey and railroad development in the period. New counties have been formed, and the sizes of the colored counties are good graphic indicators of settlement patterns, with the smaller counties having denser populations. Eventually, as Colorado became more populated and developed, the shape of its counties would continue to change. Railroads form a significant network throughout the state, reflecting the high pace of mining activity. Further details include towns, roads, railroads, forts, mines, rivers, and springs. The Continental Divide is emphasized on the map with a dashed line, and many prominent mountain peaks are named throughout the state (e.g., Long’s, Pike’s). This large and impressive map represents an early period in Colorado’s development, in a very scarce and desirable edition.

Between 1866 and 1890, the illustrated state atlas flourished as a new branch of commercial cartography in the United States. State atlas publishing was an extension and refinement of the highly successful county atlas publishing business, which had evolved from the county map industry that had been profitable before and after the Civil War. Page’s Map of Colorado was originally produced—oddly enough—for the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Wisconsin, first published by H. R. Page & Company of Chicago in 1881. Wangersheim established his printing business in Chicago around 1880, and apparently specialized in the production of county atlases until perhaps 1920. So his foray into producing the atlas which contained the present map was perhaps a singular enterprise for the publisher. Fortunately, Wangersheim’s updated map of Colorado gives us a unique picture of this period of rapid development in late nineteenth-century Colorado.

Refs for H.R. Page.: Library of Congress, no. unk82045946 (1881 edition); Ristow, American Maps and Mapmakers, pp. 427, 434, 443; Tooley’s, p. 373.

Back to Main Page