Auction 161, Lot 245

"Map Showing the Route Pursued by the Exploring Expedition to New Mexico and the Southern Rocky Mountains... [with report] Message from the President of the United States ... Report of an Expedition Led by Lieutenant Abert...", Fremont, John Charles

Subject: Western United States

Period: 1846 (published)

Publication: Sen. Doc. 438, 29th Congress, 1st Session

Color: Black & White

Size:
28.6 x 19.4 inches
72.6 x 49.3 cm

John C. Fremont is an important historical figure best remembered for his three explorations of the west in the 1840s. Fremont married Jessie Benton, daughter of Sen. Thomas Hart Benton in 1841. The Senator championed the idea of Manifest Destiny, pushing for national surveys of the West and arranging for his son-in-law to lead them.

From 1842 to 1846 Fremont led three explorations of the west with Kit Carson as guide and Charles Preuss as the topographer. His early route became know as the Oregon Trail and his explorations are credited with encouraging the huge overland migration to the west. He was the first American to see Lake Tahoe, and finally determined that the Great Basin is endorheic, or closed basin with no outlet to the sea.

Fremont went on to become a millionaire, a California senator, a governor to Arizona Territory, the man who is credited with saving Kit Carson's life, and much more, yet died penniless and in virtual obscurity. Some scholars regard Fremont as a hero of significant accomplishment, while others view him as a failure who repeatedly defeated his own best ideals. He remains an enigmatic figure in the history of the United States. Read more of his fascinating story here.

This famous map by Lt. Abert, assisted by Lt. Peck is considered of great importance as it shows the first precise astronomical observations in this unknown part of the country. It covers the area from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains, as far north as Ft. Laramie and south to Santa Fe. The entire length of the Santa Fe Trail is detailed, including the location of Council Groves and Pawnee Rock. It is largely based on Fremont's famous 1845 map, with new information added west of the eastern Rockies and along the expedition route. Wheat considers the map to be "one of great interest." The map is accompanied by Abert's 75 page narrative which details his observations on the peoples and terrain encountered, and supplemented by 12 attractive plates of prominent landmarks evidently derived from Abert's own sketches including "Wah-to-yah, or The Spanish Peaks" and "View of the Santa Fe Road." 8vo, disbound.

With only 2,100 copies printed, this is one of the scarcest illustrated government documents published during the period 1843-1863.

References:

Condition: B+

The large folding map has been separated from the report and professionally backed with tissue to reinforce and repair several small fold separations and a 7" edge tear at left. Text has only minor toning and plates have light to occasionally moderate foxing.

Estimate: $750 - $900

Sold for: $550

Closed on 2/8/2017

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