Catalog Archive
Auction 157, Lot 104

"No. 3 Map of North America Engraved to Illustrate Mitchell's School and Family Geography", Mitchell/Young

Subject: North America, Texas

Period: 1839 (dated)

Publication: Mitchell's School and Family Geography

Color: Hand Color

8 x 10.3 inches
20.3 x 26.2 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.

This nice map shows the Independent Republic of Texas in its smaller configuration along the Red and Nueces rivers, rather than the larger version extending to the 42nd parallel common on other examples of this map. Austin is shown as the capital, and San Felipe, Houston, and Bexar are located. Above Texas is the Great American Desert. The United States extends to the Pacific with Ft. George or Astoria, Ft. Colville, and Ft. Wallah-Wallah named. The Northwest extends well into Canada geographically showing the "Fifty-four Forty or Fight" dispute with Britain. Mexico controls California and the Southwest is Upper California with the Baja simply labeled California. Alaska is Russian America with the Aleutian Peninsula labeled Alaska. Cook's Inlet is well shown. Canada is depicted as British America and New Britain. Numerous Indian tribes, major towns, good detail of major rivers, and a vague idea of the Rocky Mountains are shown. The Great Basin is here called the Great Sandy Desert. This early edition has a blank verso. Engraved by J.H. Young.


Condition: B+

Minor soiling primarily in the blank margins and a series of tiny holes running down the border at right.

Estimate: $180 - $210

Sold for: $130

Closed on 5/4/2016