Auction 149, Lot 211

"Map No. 1 From San Francisco Bay to the Northern Boundary of California from Explorations and Surveys Made Under the Direction of Hon. Jefferson Davis...", Williamson & Abbot

Subject: Northern California

Period: 1855 (dated)

Publication: U.S. Pacific Railroad Surveys

Color: Black & White

23.1 x 27.2 inches
58.7 x 69.1 cm

During the 1850s, the U.S. government sponsored an extensive series of expeditions designed to gather information on the vast new territories that had been acquired in western North America. The discovery of gold in California further stimulated westward traffic and heightened the need for a faster and more convenient way to bring the far-flung parts of the country together. In 1853 Congress commissioned the Army's Topographic Bureau to conduct a series of surveys to find a suitable route for a transcontinental railroad. There were six major expeditions; five of them covered the area between the Great Plains and west coast, and the sixth explored the coastal states of California and Oregon. All of these expeditions were accompanied by naturalists and artists to document the landscape, flora and fauna along the route. The reports, maps and lithographs were published in the 13 volume report "Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a Railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean."

This map is quite detailed along the coast from San Francisco Bay to the northern border with Oregon with place names, watershed and fine hachure in the mountainous areas. The balance of the map is mostly in skeletal format with an area to the west is noted as Not Explored Instrumentally. Locates the Emigrant Trail plus the earlier explorations of Warner and Williamson in 1849, and Wessell in 1852. Notes the place Warner was killed in 1849. Topography on the map was not added by this survey but taken from numerous sources including Fremont's "Map of Oregon and Upper California."

References: Wheat (TMW) #881.

Condition: B+

Issued folding, now pressed and backed in Japanese tissue to repair some short fold separations. There are a few tiny spots of foxing and some light soiling. A binding trim at bottom left has been replaced with paper to accommodate framing.

Estimate: $300 - $375

Sold for: $180

Closed on 5/21/2014