Auction 122, Lot 231

"Geographical Memoir Upon Upper California… [with] Map of Oregon and Upper California From the Surveys of John Charles Fremont…", Fremont, John Charles

Subject: Western United States

Period: 1848 (dated)

Publication: Se. Doc. 30th Cong, 1st Sess., Misc. No. 148

Color: Hand Color

26.5 x 33 inches
67.3 x 83.8 cm

This report and the accompanying, Map of Oregon and Upper California From the Surveys of John Charles Fremont and Other Authorities..., are widely considered to be among the most important records of the exploration and settling of the American west. The map, which is dissected and backed with period linen, was drawn by Charles Preuss. It incorrectly depicts the interior basin of Nevada as being surrounded by mountains. The Mormon settlements are shown along the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake, and we see "Chrysopylae or Golden Gate" at the entrance to San Francisco Bay for the first time. The markings of the El Dorado or Gold Region in the California Gold Fields are noted, as is a hypothetical east-west mountain range near the 42nd parallel. This map has been accorded two-fold importance in the development of the westward expansion. First, as a major contribution to geographical and cartographical knowledge and secondly, as a historic documentation of Fremont's third expedition. The map is a remarkable graphic depiction of this expedition and is considered one of the most important 19th century American maps. It covers all of the western territories from the 105th Meridian. Wheat illustrates the map and devotes eight pages to its description. Having been court-marshaled and dismissed from the Army in 1847, Fremont was not asked to publish the details of this last expedition by the Corps of Topographical Engineers as would normally be required. Instead, the Geographical Memoir comprised his report. It was published nonetheless by Congress at the behest of the powerful Senator Thomas Hart Benton, Fremont's father-in-law. The memoir is also knows as Misc. Doc. No. 148, 30th Congress, 1st Session. 8vo. Complete. Original green hardboards with green cloth spine. The scarcity and completness of this report certainly commands the attention of the most serious collectors of Americana.

References: Wheat (TMW) #559; Goss (NA) #177; Schwartz & Ehrenberg plt. 171

Condition: B+

The map is unbound, probably as issued, with some toning at the folds and some light soiling or foxing in a few places. The booklets covers are a little worn with corners bumped and spine sunned. Covers are split at inside end papers. End papers are a little toned and chipped. Library stamp on title page (with withdrawl stamp), rear endpaper and verso of map on linen.

Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000

Sold for: $3,250

Closed on 12/5/2007