Map of the United States of America with its Territories & Districts. Including also a part of Upper & Lower Canada and Mexico. [ First 1850 edition]

Map of the United States of America with its Territories & Districts. Including also a part of Upper & Lower Canada and Mexico. [ First 1850 edition] Published by Reed & Barber. Hartford. 1850.
Hartford, Connecticut
wall map, color lithograph on two joined sheets, fabric edges, varnished, backed on linen and attached to original painted wood rods
Unrestored original condition
as found original good condition, original colors throughout, complete, a water stain in northwest quadrant, antique patina, varnish lightly toned, some vertical cracks in map surface, highly legible features throughout
47 × 50.25 inches
Sale Status: 

This scarce map represents the United States during its ultimate westward territorial expansion and is likely the first edition of Reed & Barber's Map of the United States of America with its Territories & Districts. Including also a part of Upper & Lower Canada and Mexico. 1850. 1/ I have found no records or commentary on this edition, or any recognition that there are two different 1850 editions of Reed & Barber's map. This early edition of the 1850 map is exceptional as a report on the 1848-1850 Congressional debate in progress over America's southwest borders including especially those of Texas.

            The Hartford, Connecticut book and map publisher Reed 2/ & Barber 2/ ("R&B" as they called themselves) created this 1850 wall map for school and general distribution, likely for an East Coast audience eager to learn the new names, shapes and details of the approximately 600 million acres known as the "Mexican Cessions"  under the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that America acquired with a $15 million payment to Mexico to conclude the Mexican American War. This R&B United States map also reflects the Act of March 3, 1849 that organized "Minesota."  R & B's 1850 wall map shows America's new national borders extended west beyond the upper portion of a reduced Texas, the latest new state in the context of this map, along the Rio Gila and across the top of the Gulf of California where it meets the Rio Colorado and Upper California, thence up the entire Pacific Coast to the Canadian border. This northern border is shown on R & B's 1850 map with an engraved note that states the border is drawn based on the 1818 Treaty with Great Britain - outdated by 1850 - as well as the controversial northwest corner of Lake in the Woods in Minesota.3/ The map shows the area north from Texas to the U.S. – Canada border and a portion of Canada above Lake in the Woods and the Great Lakes.  Finally, this 1850 R & B map shows a physically reduced Mexico and Mexico's new northern border with the United States.

            On this edition of the R&B 1850 map Native American tribal names cover lands in a defined zone overlapping part of the Nebraska Territory and labeled "Indian Territory" as shown and explained by a note on E.  Gilman's 1848 government Treaty Map 4/ that represents what the federal government declared to be "Indian Territory." This "Indian Territory" further reduced Native American historic territory in the central and western region to a small fraction of the size of the surrounding region Congress had already organized as American states, territorial governments and territories and from which areas it had displaced Native Americans.

            Close reading of the graphic art in R & B's 1850 first edition wall map reveals that established American international borders are shown as solid black lines. Established American state and territorial borders are shown throughout with a dot - dash- dot hatch line pattern. The Mexican Cessions are shown with a dotted line throughout, except where borders are defined by water bodies or rivers. The dotted lines may be read as provisional boundaries subject to final determination by the U.S. Congress that came with the Compromise of 1850 and required surveys. Graphic art in the form of a finely stippled field describes the Great American Desert spanning "Indian Territory" and Texas. The Nebraska Territory bears a note borrowed from Huntington's 1831 Map of the United States describing these plains as a wilderness barren of trees, populated by roaming Buffalo, Indian tribes and an occasional white fur trader. A vignette of the U.S. Capitol shows the building in its "low dome" profile. A second vignette portrays the President's House. Both vignettes had appeared decades earlier on maps of the United States by other publishers working in Hartford.

            Color is used in this map to identify boundary lines of states and provinces, occasionally running along a latitude line. Sometimes color is used to highlight special circumstances on the ground. For example, Upper California is labeled and shown in two colored zones, yellow along the coast and green inland, within one boundary.5/ The yellow area includes the labeled "GOLD REGION", Sutter's Fort is located in this area with a graphic symbol resembling a number sign (#) and New Helvetia is also located here. In the green zone, in the north east quadrant, "SALT LAKE" is drawn and labeled, "MORMONS" are located on the north shore of SALT LAKE and Ft. Mormon is located on the southern shore, perhaps for the first time. American mountains are represented in line drawings and labeled with English and Spanish names.

            Reed & Barber's first 1850 edition represents fresh news out of Washington about the Mexican Cessions, news about the Gold Rush in California and news about the emigrants settling in the West, especially the Mormons at Salt Lake.  This news is mapped with provisional, dotted boundaries, and labeled as follows:

1.         Texas borders are reduced: Texas is shown now without its stovepipe.

Texas' western border abuts a smaller territory marked "New Mexico".

2.         The large new Upper California "GOLD REGION" is labeled and colored in yellow to distinguish it from the otherwise green Upper California. The southern portion of coastal California is also colored yellow. The area colored yellow closely resembles California's soon to be state boundaries, and here on the map may represent the U.S. Military assertion of local governing authority in the region and establishment of a U.S. Military base.

3.         In eastern Upper California, the Great Salt Lake is located and labeled in capitals "SALT LAKE" unlike smaller lakes elsewhere on this map - perhaps also designating the Mormon city? Along Salt Lake's northern shore is an early reference locating "MORMONS". South of Salt Lake is " Ft. Mormon." This reference to "MORMONS" on the northern shore of Salt Lake and to Ft. Mormon locates a well traveled stopover by western emigrants to California, or those returning east from California. As early as 1847, letters east by these emigrants were published by the St. Louis Republican and provided early reporting – some reliable and others fabulous- on the Mormons at Salt Lake. Reed & Barber along with the publisher's map customers might have read such early news in East Coast newspapers that picked up from western newspapers these articles with letters about the West. By 1848-1849 Eastern newspapers contained more republished articles with letters containing numerous first person reports of details of Mormon life at Salt Lake written by non-Mormons about Mormons. 6/ In late 1847, an official Mormon epistle announced that Salt Lake – and not California – was the official destination of the Mormons. Hence, SALT LAKE on this map may name the lake and the growing Mormon settlement shortly known as Salt Lake City.

4.         A large chart laid over Upper California covers most territory east and south of the GOLD REGION. This chart has line drawings of mountains and reports the relative heights of mountains throughout the United States; the chart notes distances of principal cities from Washington, D.C. and from each other; and the chart bears a heading "Population according to the Census of 1850" below which is the list of these principal cities, with a typo at "Tuscaloosa, Ma". No cities in the Mexican Cessions or Texas are named on this list. In fact, no 1850 U.S. Census figures at all are provided! The column in the right margin of the chart designated for this data is empty. 7/

5.         A small population chart presents the U.S. Census for 1840, with counts for free white men, free black men and slaves. These figures imply the free state/slave state politics in the decade of the 1840's and are a foil for the Congressional debates ongoing when this map was prepared, not just about Texas borders but about those of the entire Mexican Cessions.

            The 1850 first edition of R & B's wall map does not show the new internal borders resulting from the January 29, 1850 passage by Congress - after two years of debate - of the four-part legislation named the Compromise of 1850.8/ The second 1850 edition of R & B's wall map reports these 1850 new borders based on the new laws. After the Compromise of 1850, current mapping would show the State of California, New Mexico Territory, Utah Territory, and the State of Texas with final borders and "Indian Lands" as a small bounded area above Texas and Tribal names in Nebraska Territory.9/ In R&B's later 1850 map edition "Deseret", the Mormon's name for the large region it aspired to but never governed appears instead of "Upper California" or "Utah Territory" but that map otherwise shows Mexican Cessions as finally organized by Congress.


            The historic and political context for R&B's early 1850 wall map and the general public's demand for new 1850 era maps showing America's coast to coast boundaries is the time period marked by the ceremonial and redolently political July 4, 1848 proclamation (publication) of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (signed Feb. 2, 1848) with the terms of peace that ended the Mexican American War (1846-1848).  Although this 1848 Treaty was accompanied by Ephraim Gilman's U.S. Land Office map printed in December, 1848  and the Treaty itself had been negotiated with reliance on Disturnell's Map of the United States of Mexico among others, by 1849 the Treaty's new joint boundary commission surveys revealed border errors that required correction. This led to final territory purchases from Mexico in 1853. From late 1848, as the Boundary Commission surveys of the U.S. - Mexico progressed, Congress debated how to organize new U.S. states, territories and districts in a ratio that maintained political equipoise of slave holding states and free states.10/  Commercial map publishers such as R & B relied on such political information as it reached map publishers incrementally. That time lag might account for the two distinct 1850 R & B editions of this map. John Disturnell also published his 1850 New Map of the United States and Canada. 11/

            A political agenda within Congress that was not controversial during this 1848-1850 period was the status of remaining Native American lands under federal law defined and mapped as "Indian Territory" on government maps and commercially printed maps.12/ In Congress and predominantly in popular opinion from the 1840s through the Compromise of 1850 and thereafter Congress (and the states) did not fully recognize Native American nations as independent participants or political entities. Yet obtaining their lands was certainly a principal objective of the federal government and private interests, for whom under what economic and political model to monetize these lands was paramount.

            This first 1850 edition of Reed & Barber's map is thus political geography rather than technical mapping based on current surveys. Reed & Barber borrow widely from others and from their own earlier map editions.13 That is why some graphic elements on this Reed & Barber 1850 edition represent American territory as mapped by others at a variety of much earlier dates, both accurately and otherwise. R & B also retains graphic elements of earlier versions of this map format by others and by itself: two vignettes and two charts. The two charts retained from prior map editions are: the small population chart outside the map field here based on the 1840 U.S. Census; and inside the map field a large multi-purpose chart with relative heights of mountains, distances of principal cities from Washington, D.C. and from each other and population statistics based on the U.S. census.  The format and placement of the large chart in the 1835 B.B. Barber and A. Willard edition of this United States map is identical to that of the large chart in the1850 Reed & Barber first edition. Reed & Barber claims no copyright on the map. The R&B 1850 first edition of this map illustrates the publisher's practice of grabbing source material or printing plates as available, and updating its own and others' older map plates to keep pace with unfolding current events. As noted above, the 1850 population chart is blank as to 1850 census data, and omits Texas and Mexican Cessions jurisdictions.

            What makes this first 1850 edition of Reed & Barber's map remarkable is that it presents the United States as a political work in progress and map boundaries - both international and domestic - still in flux.  Congressional debates were ongoing over Texas borders, and the status and names of reallocated Mexican Cession lands into new states or territories, or to be retained as U.S. government lands. Congress' vote on January 29, 1850 to approve the Compromise of 1850 establishing new internal borders had presumably not occurred when this map was published. This R&B 1850 map illustrates Congress locked in disagreement about how to reconcile the demands of the slave holding states and Texas, on the one hand and the free states on the other. The slave holding advocates' position was that Texas' boundaries as originally claimed in 1836 upon it becoming the Republic of Texas (including a portion of New Mexico and the stovepipe as far north as Oregon Territory) continued in 1845 when Texas reorganized as a constitutional slave holding state for annexation in late 1845 by the United States, and were therefore ratified in January 1846 when Congress granted Texas statehood.  Congressmen from free states asserted that the annexation borders asserted by Texas were never accepted by Congress under the treaty of annexation that specifically reserved to Congress the power to set new Texas state boundaries and to enforce the Missouri Compromise, which the Texas "stovepipe" lands violated.

            Because the Missouri Compromise 14/ limited slavery to latitude 36º 30' except in Missouri, it would have been a good bet for R & B to make that the Texas stovepipe must be removed from their map as Texas' northern boundary. This first 1850 Reed & Barber Map edition illustrates only the first step taken in debate by Congress to redefine Texas' new state borders.  R & B's first 1850 edition of the map presents an unresolved status for Texas' western border: the area labeled "New Mexico". The map reflects Ephraim Gilman's ambiguous government issued Treaty Map that according to some commentators gave rise to an interpretation that slave holding had expanded westward. 15/  Commercially published maps after the Compromise of 1850 if current showed as of  January 29, 1850 the greatly enlarged New Mexico Territory on Texas' western border. Texas relinquished all claims to New Mexico and accepted a $10 million payment as part of the Compromise of 1850. Reed & Barber's later 1850 and other subsequent map editions show a dramatically enlarged New Mexico Territory that spans a portion of the "Great American Desert" to the east and to the south reaches further into Texas to El Paso, a location not even identified on R & B's first 1850 edition.

            A third and contentious religious topic emerging in American politics was the political status and acceptable location of emigrant Mormons who arrived at Salt Lake and environs in 1847, en route to what was first intended as a Mormon colony in California.  Fleeing persecution in the East and Central states, in 1847 when Mormons arrived at Salt Lake this territory belonged to Mexico. As of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the presence of Mormons at Salt Lake was now an American issue.

R & B's first 1850 edition of the map locates the Mormons within borders defined as Mexican Cessions without yet a federally recognized local political authority. Mormon leaders in Salt Lake instituted a church led governing structure in this interim period they called "Deseret." By April 1851, after Congress organized the Utah Territory and a civil government was formed with locally elected officials, the Mormons dissolved their church state, ran for public office, and were seated as State of Utah officials.

            There is with hindsight a certain unintended irony to the title of Reed & Barber's first 1850 edition of Map of the United States of America, All its Territories and Districts. Including also a part of Upper & Lower Canada and Mexico. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded 55% of its lands. The irony of the map title is that what remained of Mexico under the Treaty was 45% of its former domain, indeed now only a "part" of the former Mexico. The United States, shown in this 1850 map, with "All its Territories and Districts..." is both transcontinental and 600 million acres larger.          

            The Wizard of Oz might rightly have said "Now there is a horse of another color" to describe this unrecorded 1850 edition of Reed & Barber's Map of the United States of America with its Territories and Districts. The wild West of gold prospecting, land speculation, new towns and rapidly growing emigrant populations of many stripes both from within and outside of the United States are here matched by the wild west of America's mid-19th c. map publishers in a race to report on America's metamorphosis.    

1. Rumsey notes Reed & Barber editions in 1848,1849, 1850 and 1854 of the Map of the United States of America All its Territories and Districts...and Mexico. To this list we can add this early 1850 edition, and an 1851 edition in a private collection reported to the author. An 1852 edition is also noted by Ruderman.

2. As early as 1836 the imprint "Reed and Barber" in Hartford is on a book:  The Common School Atlas and again in 1839. Reed may be Abner Reed (1771-1866), a Hartford engraver and publisher, author and print maker. Barber might have been B[issell] B. Barber or John Warner Barber who was an apprentice to Reed. See AAS, Training in the Workshop of Abner Reed", Donald C. O'Brien, Vol. 105, Iss.1(Jan.1 1995):45 relying on primary references including Barber's diary. However, how to reconcile this Barber with publisher "B.B. Barber" of the 1835 edition of this United States map given that the 1835 and 1850 first editions of this United States map share the same design? See Yale Library for attribution Bissell B. Barber for the 1835 map.

3. The reference is outdated because that border was modified in the 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

4. Ephraim Gilman's 1848 Map of the United States. Please see National Archives. Cartography, Politics—and Mischief | National Archives

5. In 1847, even as the Mexican American War was ongoing the U.S. Military entered Mexico's Upper California, set up administrative offices and designated military officers as interim governors to provide a local American administrator. By 1848 with the discovery of gold attracting a rapidly increasing western emigrant population, civilians set up a de facto local government. The yellow designation of this entire region may reflect such political realities on the ground.

6. Mormons emigrated from the mid-West and reached Salt Lake by 1847. Please see, Andrew H. Hedges, Utah Historical Quarterly, Vol. 84, Number 3, 2016, "News from Salt Lake 1847-1850". The author draws on a letter dated May,1847 published first in the St. Louis Republican by a non-Mormon emigrant passing through Salt Lake en route to California who reports 5,000 Mormon settlers there. He cites several other 1847 and 1848 newspaper articles. The author argues that eastern newspaper reports in 1849 were not the first to reach eastern readers and that news of Mormon settlement at Salt Lake predated the Gold Rush. He cites the Twelve Apostles' Epistle of December 1847 stating that Salt Lake would be the final Mormon settlement destination rather than California. The author notes a November, 1848, St. Louis newspaper report of speculation that Brigham Young petitioned the Mormon Church to create a territorial government. The author notes a June,1849 Frontier Guardian article that Mormons wanted territorial status.

7. The first report of the U.S. Census for 1850 was issued December 1, 1851. Enumerators were given their blank forms in July,1850. The 1850 Census first report lacked figures for California, whose schedules were destroyed in a fire.  By July 14, 1852 a second report including California's count had arrived. Complete population figures for the 1850 U.S. decennial census were published as a book in 1853 with both a count and new schedules naming all members of a household, free persons and slaves, births and deaths and other personal data. Including slaves, the U.S. 1850 population was 23,191,876. The Boston Public Library Research Specialist, Government Information, John J. Devine, Jr. kindly assisted with this research.

8. The Compromise of 1850 consists of a package:  the Fugitive Slave Act, new Texas borders and newly organized State of California, Territory of New Mexico, and Territory of Utah. This 1850 legislative Compromise functioned as a closed political loop to maintain slave-holding states' ability to maintain slavery and slave owner's claims to repossess individuals who crossed into free states.

9. Please see the Library of Congress timeline of U.S. borders on labeled maps culminating with the Compromise of 1850.,-0.045,1.418,0.721,0 See also documents.

10. W.J. Spillman, The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Jan.1904, Vol.VII No. 3 (Jan.,1904) pp.177-195. discusses the territorial tug of war over Texas' final borders, the political climate riven by the debate over slavery and related issues.

11. See John Disturnell's 1850 "New Map of the United States and Canada showing all the canals, rail roads, telegraph lines and principal stage routes" that illustrates a large Native American tribal territory identified with the Native American tribe names, and a small, bounded "Indian Territory" now abutting a Texas.

12. Mitchell's 1846-1849 "A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California" shows the Transmississippi West. Colton's 1849 Map of the United States [and Mexico], 2nd edition, shows California remapped in detail. See Rumsey's example of this map.

13. There are prior editions of a map with this graphic format. In 1835, B[issell].B. Barber and A[saph]. Willard published Map of the United States of America with its Territories and Districts. Including also a part of Upper & Lower Canada and Mexico. See Rumsey collection.  See Yale University map collection. That 1835 map has two vignettes identical to those of the 1850 edition, the Capitol and the President's House, and two charts similarly placed and identical to those of the 1850 edition. Rumsey notes that in 1831 Willis Thrall used this format in his Map of the United States Compiled from Most Authentic Sources. The Connecticut Historical Society Collections comments on its web site that Thrall "evidently" obtained the plate from Asaph Willard of 1826 and "reprinted the plate under his own name." The printing plate for this map format thus circulated among Hartford publishers from 1826 to 1835 and thereafter at least until 1850 with R&B's first edition.

14. Missouri Compromise. Missouri Compromise (1820) | National Archives

15. Please see Cartography - Politics and Mischief, by Mark J. Stegmaier with Richard T. McCulley, discussing  the  National Archives example of Ephraim Gilman's 1848 Map of the United States published by the U.S. General Land Office to show the status of the new lands acquired under the Treat of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The authors explain that the map, to represent the political proposals by Pres. Polk for new states and territories contains errors and oversights, and regarding Texas that Gilman's map notations create ambiguities as to the status of Texas' claim to New Mexico and whether an expansion westward of slavery was contemplated. "Indian Territory" is defined on this map as "Situated West of the States of Missouri & Arkansas and South of the Platte of Nebraska River held and apportioned for Indian purposes."

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