Catalog Archive
Auction 180, Lot 81

"North America", Tanner, Henry Schenck

Subject: North America

Period: 1830 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

20.8 x 18.3 inches
52.8 x 46.5 cm
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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 is a very scarce example of one of Tanner's most desirable maps. It is a derivative of his landmark 1822 map of the continent, which was based on the expeditions of Lewis & Clark, Pike, James, and other important overland surveys. The northern border of the United States extends well into present-day British Columbia incorporating New Hanover and reflecting the Oregon Question and the "Fifty-four Forty or Fight" dispute with Britain. Oregon Territory extends through the Plains region to the organized territories. Northwest Territory, Arkansas, and Missouri are shown with Arkansas extending to the panhandle of present-day Texas. The Continental Divide is shown as a mountain ridge that extends from northern Canada through Central America. The map also illustrates a river draining the mythical Lake Timpanagos into the Pacific. An inset table names 26 states and territories, including West and East Florida.


Condition: B

Contemporary color with centerfold separations at top (4.5") and bottom (7.5") that have been closed on verso with archival tape. There are some small spots and stains, minor offsetting, and toning and soiling that is mostly confined to the blank margins.

Estimate: $600 - $800

Sold for: $450

Closed on 11/18/2020