Catalog Archive
Auction 153, Lot 88

"North America", SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Subject: North America

Period: 1843 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

12.4 x 15.1 inches
31.5 x 38.4 cm

The United States and Great Britain established in 1818 joint claim over the Oregon Territory - the region north of Spanish controlled Upper California up to the southern boundary of Russia's Alaska Territory at North latitude 54°40'. By the late 1830's this arrangement was beginning to fall apart. In the 1840's the expansionist Democrats, including their 1844 presidential candidate, James Polk, claimed the entire region for the United States. Their expansionist desires were expressed by Polk's famous campaign slogan, "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" The slogan also became a rally cry for Americans desiring to settle the territory. Following Polk's election, the dispute was resolved by the 1846 Treaty of Oregon, which struck a compromise that fixed the U.S./Canadian boundary at 49º North.

Detailed and finely engraved map that portrays an Independent Texas, with Mexico controlling Nueva California. In the Pacific Northwest, despite the U.S./Canadian border being drawn along the Columbia River, the colorist has shown the final boundary agreement. Filled with well-developed topography, the map names numerous forts, trading posts, and Indian tribes and locates L. Youla roughly near the Great Salt Lake, with the American Fur Depot on its eastern shore. The R. Buenaventura extends to the Pacific from two branches, one originating from a large swamp in the Great Basin. The course of the Snake River is fairly accurate, but the Colorado River originates too far north and rushes to the Sea of Cortez in a straight line. Locates 3 Butes in present-day Idaho -- important landmarks on the Oregon Trail. Lake Michigan retains its erroneous elongated shape. Distance scales outside of border give English Miles and Spanish Leagues. Engraved by J. & C. Walker and published by Charles Knight & Co.


Condition: B+

Original outline color with bat burn confined to the blank margins and one tiny hole in Canada only visible when held to light. Remnants of masking tape on verso, confined to the top and bottom blank margins.

Estimate: $150 - $180


Closed on 5/20/2015