Rare Maps from High Ridge Books
Rare maps from High Ridge Books.
High Ridge Books has published their Catalogue 63. Rare Maps from the 17th to 20th Centuries Featuring Wall Maps, Pocket Maps, Sea Charts and Other Unusual Cartographic Items. This is an extensive selection primarily of maps, almost 300 in all. They range from older European maps and early understandings of the New World, to the development of America, and conclude at the dawn of the era where road maps for automobiles would replace railroad and road maps meant for travelers in horse-drawn carriages. Along the way, we find many local maps - counties and towns. Those looking for maps of particular local interest should see this catalogue as your community might be included. Many of these maps were produced by land developers or the railroads, trying to sell Americans on the wonders of moving to some far-off undeveloped plot of land, whose beautiful description probably had little in common with the reality of living there. Additionally, you will some items not quite maps but related, such as transportation schedules and routes for railroads and boats. Here are a few samples of items to be found in this catalogue of route guides to the world waiting outside your door.
Item 9 is a map that presents an early look at the Americas: America with Those Known Parts in That Unknowne World... It is the 1676 fourth state of a map originally published by British mapmaker John Speed in 1626, as part of his atlas A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World. That was the first world atlas produced by an Englishman (the Dutch had previously dominated the field), and while Speed died shortly after its initial publication, his work was so well respected that it was still being printed half a century later. This map includes color images of American natives along its sides and small plans of cities at the top. The first issue was the first map in an atlas to depict California as an island, a misconception carried through to this state. Most of the American Northwest is simply left off, it being an area still virtually unknown in the western world at the time. Priced at $9,500.
Item 32 is an early local map, but not a printed one. It is a circa 1795 manuscript map of four proposed towns in Herkimer County, upstate New York. Herkimer County had been created just a few years earlier, much of it coming from land seized from the Iroquois Indians as payback for their supporting the British during the Revolution. Located north and west of Albany, it was very rural, and still a dangerous frontier area at the time. The primary town was German Flatts, already officially a town at the time, but with three new towns to be carved from it – Litchfield, Warren, and Frankfort. All four still exist today, with German Flatts still a modest size community while the other three towns remain very small in terms of population, even though over two centuries have passed since they were created. $400.
Item 37 is an extremely rare second edition of the first official map of New Hampshire: Philip Carrigain's New Hampshire by Recent Survey Made Under Supreme Authority and Published. This is an 1818 second edition of the map first published in 1816. It is so rare that some of the bibliographies and sources on maps have referred to the first as an “only” edition, or noted that Carrigain privately sold copies of a second edition but that no copies are known. While the main map is of New Hampshire, there are insets of other New England states and maritime provinces, along with southern and central U.S. States. $8,500.
Item 39 provides a snapshot of America at a specific moment – 1819. Maps could only be of a moment at that time as America was rapidly changing. Indiana, Illinois, and Mississippi are shown as states, as each had been admitted to the Union in the previous three years. However, Alabama is a territory, and few maps would so label it as it only retained territorial status for three years before becoming a state. This map is Samuel Lewis' Travellers Guide to the United States, a large wall map. It is called a “travellers guide” as it displayed various roads. Traveling would not have been easy as this predates the explosion of railroads, meaning these would be rough carriage roads. This map incorporated findings in the farther northwest regions from Lewis and Clark's expedition, though detail is limited, and what it refers to as “North West Territory” lies in today's Wisconsin. $9,500.
Rare Maps from High Ridge Books
The railroad will take you to Denver for the GAR encampment.
Item 47 offers a very early, though not terrible accurate look at northern Utah and western Colorado long before they were known as such. Taken from the Vandermaelen atlas of 1831, printed in Brussels, Amer. Sep. Partie du Mexique, this map depicts a portion of the American Southwest when it was still part of Mexico. There is Lake Timpanogos, which in these days could have been Great Salt Lake or Utah Lake or some combination thereof. Another large lake to the west may be Sevier Lake, a body of water that frequently runs dry. Perhaps it was wetter then. Various rivers crossing the area are harder to match up with current knowledge though there was likely some correlation. This area had seen little Western penetration at this time save for a few Spanish/Mexican explorers and American trappers, so Vandermaelen can be excused for his limited knowledge of and errors in depicting this mostly uncharted territory. $375.
The aforementioned lands show up in the 1860 Johnson & Browning New Illustrated & Embellished... Map of the Republic. They are displayed in names not that familiar to us now – the State of Jefferson and Shoshone Territory. Things change. This land having come to the U.S. After the Mexican War, western Kansas was about to become a state. However, it ended up adopting the name “Colorado” instead of “Jefferson.” And, Shoshone Territory, like so much other Indian territory, was taken from the Shoshones and now can be found as parts of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada. Item 149. $5,750.
Item 224 is not a map, but it highlights the services of the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. It promotes their transportation services to the 1883 annual encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic. “Shouting the Battle Cry” it notes with patriotic fervor. The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal order of Union veterans of the Civil War. It was once extremely influential, boasting that five American Presidents arose from its membership. It supported Civil War veterans concerns and other patriotic causes, including establishing the holiday now celebrated as Memorial Day. While its membership roles in the South were somewhat limited by circumstances, it at one time had almost half a million members. However, the GAR would only ever admit Union Civil War veterans to its membership, and you can see the problem there. As membership dwindled, first slowly, then with a rush, the inevitable became the obvious. Their final encampment was held in 1949, a few aged soldiers getting together one last time, and their last member died in 1956 at age 109 (maybe). Their assets were left to an organization of descendants of Civil War veterans that exists to this day with around 6,000 members. $3,500.
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