Catalog Archive
Auction 190, Lot 120

"Map of the United States Exhibiting the Grants of Lands Made by the General Government to Aid in the Construction of Railroads and Wagon Roads...", Donaldson, Thomas

Subject: United States

Period: 1883 (circa)

Publication: Public Domain

Color: Printed Color

28.5 x 19.8 inches
72.4 x 50.3 cm
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This map was originally produced by the U.S. Geological Survey under the direction of John Wesley Powell and was reissued in Donaldson's Public Domain. Public Domain Land, the largest land give-away ever, was granted by Congress to 19th century railroad barons to pay for construction of the railroad lines. Most of these grants were west of the Mississippi River and ultimately totaled more than 174 million acres. The map itself depicts vast swaths of land granted to railroads, including virtually the entire state of Iowa. This is a somewhat misleading representation as most grants were for alternate sections of land along the route of the road. Additionally, the railroads were not able to sell all of these grants and many reverted back to the government. This is a historical and desirable railroad map that may have been the source for a map used in an 1884 campaign poster by Democrats claiming a giveaway of public lands to special interests.


Condition: A

Issued folding with a hint of color offsetting at bottom. A binding trim at right has been replaced with old paper.

Estimate: $250 - $325

Sold for: $275

Closed on 11/16/2022