Map of the United States Including Texas c. 1844

Map of the United States Including Texas c. 1844 Harper & Brothers, New York nd [c.1844]
Black and white engraving
Professionally conserved
Professionally conserved very good condition, backed with tissue
23.5 × 17 inches
Sale Status: 
For Sale

This finely detailed 19th c. engraved map of the United States and Texas, including three northeast state small inset maps, is titled with a focus on the independent Republic of Texas and the recognition of Native American territories in the west including the Mandan district. The large map is black and white, as published in the American edition by Harper & Brothers of M'Culloch's Universal Gazetteer: A Dictionary Geographical, Statistical, and Historical of the Various Countries, Places, and Principal Objects in the World...Illustrated with Seven Large Maps. The set of maps is engraved by Charles Copley in New York. The American edition of M'Culloch's work was published from 1843 to 1845, and in a late 1855 edition.  The map itself is not dated but by its content may be dated to c. 1844. One outstanding feature of this map is the presentation of the Republic of Texas as an independent republic. The time frame is before the outbreak of the Mexican American War and incorporation of the Republic of Texas into the United States as the State of Texas. Harper's Map of the United States and Texas on the east coast of the United States shows the border between Maine and Canada as the "Boundary of 1842". Canada is shown in newly partitioned regions of Canada East, Canada West also supporting a date c. 1844 for our map. 

            The Preface to M'Culloch's first American edition of 1843 explains the American publisher's ambitions to improve upon the English edition, which did not provide adequate information about the United States, or a separate map: "In the American edition, the latter will be much improved by being more full and compete with regard to the New England states, and portions of the other American states and the original will be corrected by the recent divisions of the Canadas....The original contains no separate map of the United States an omission which will be supplied by a new and complete map of this country, prepared expressly for this work, which will exhibit the railroads and canals which have been completed and are in operation...Distances will be given according to the nearest post route..." The publisher promises all of these improvements at one third the price of the English edition!

            Dating the map by the boundaries of Texas presented, and by completed rail lines drawn on the map suggests that the map on offer is from the 1843-1844 edition of M'Culloch's Universal Gazetteer. The overall content and geography of the the Harper map is close to that shown in Olney's School Atlas of 1844. Texas declared its independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836 and existed as an independent republic for nine years and approximately eleven months. On March 1, 1845 the United States Annexation of Texas was approved by Congress and on December 29, 1845 Texas was admitted as a State of the United States and statehood ratified in 1846. Its boundaries as a U.S. state were not finalized until the Compromise of 1850.  A comparison of rail lines completed in Georgia as of 1843 on this edition of the Harper & Brothers map and on Mitchell's Traveller's Guide 1843 closely track each other.

            There are certain remarkable features of the Harper map. The boundaries of Texas do not appear to close. The eastern boundary of Texas, rising north from the Gulf of Mexico along the western boundary of Louisiana follows the Sabine River north to the Red River and just peters out at the end of the Red River. The Texas panhandle and the north western boundary of Texas are shown as the Rio Grande del Norte. In fact, surveying the boundaries of Texas at that time was difficult due to large blockages in the Red River known as the Great Raft that rendered it unnavigable from Louisiana to Arkansas for until the 1870's.

            The region on the map north and west of Texas is labeled "Indian Territory", "Mandans Territory" (now known as North Dakota) and by individual Indian tribal names many of which are shown with delineated territories. The tribes are, however not all native to this region. American government policy (state and federal) of Indian removal, beginning in Georgia and accelerating with the westward expansion of American settlers forced migration of Eastern Native Americans.  The federal government's land policies of seizing Indians lands forced many of the named tribes into this concentrated and ever shrinking land area. The  preexisting Mandans Territory also suffered territorial shrinkage due to these policies. The Mandans Indians were additionally decimated by small pox by the time the artist George Caitlin  visited in 1833 and painted their portraits. It is perhaps ironic that as the Mandans Indians became better known to the expanding United States population, by 1838 small pox brought into the tribal territory by American traders effectively obliterated the Mandans as a tribe.

            One of Harper's more literary map notations describes the "Great American Desert": "This Desert is traversed by immense herds of Buffaloes, and inhabited by roving tribes of Indians." Harper & Brothers' description borrows from E. Huntington's 1831 Map of the United States Corrected from the most authentic sources,  whose evocative description of the Missouri Territory draws a picture: "Missouri Territory is a vast Wilderness consisting chiefly of immense Plans, almost destitute of wood, except in the neighborhood of Streams. It is traversed by numerous herds of Buffaloes & Wild Horses and by a few roving tribes of Indians."  Harper & Brothers borrowed widely from pre-existing United States maps.

            Harper's c. 1844 Map of the United States and Texas is also a transportation map of railroad lines, stagecoach routes and trails. Transportation routes throughout the map are labeled, including the  Road to Santa Fe, which cuts across Indian Territory. Current railroads include the longest railroad line along Lake Erie and inland. Certain short run lines are drawn only connecting two or three towns: Meredosia to Springfield, Illinois; Jonesville to Perrysburg on Lake Erie; Sandusky to Tiffin, Ohio on Lake Erie; Savannah, Georgia inland to Forsyth, shy of the state capital Milledgeville; Charleston to Columbia, South Carolina; Athens and Madison, Georgia. In Maine there is a short line from Bangor to Old Town. A trunk line runs from Maine to Rhode Island. Longer rail lines extend from the Northeast states south to Wilmington, Delaware.  

            The Harper & Brothers' promise in its Preface to the American edition of the Gazetteer to do justice to the highly developed and thriving New England states results in three inset maps: 1) Vicinity of Boston; 2) Vicinity of New York; and 3) Vicinity of Philadelphia. The Vicinity of Boston maps extends as far west as Framingham. The Vicinity of New York map includes sections of New Jersey and Connecticut. The Vicinity of Philadelphia map includes as well portions of New Jersey not covered in the New York map, and parts of Delaware.  The density of development in the Northeast is apparent in these inset maps. The likely purchasers of the Harper & Brother's map lived in the Northeast.  The publisher understood that its audience would have found the Map of the United States and Texas a mirror of current day America on the move, and the presentation of the undeveloped West a source of opportunity and wonder.


Please see also by Harper & Brothers in Original Antique Maps Inventory:

Central America and the West Indies from the latest authorities.
Engraved by Charles Copley, N. York
Harper & Brothers New York nd c. 1844
dimensions: 19 3/4" x 12 1/4"
professionally conserved, backed on tissue
price: $425.00                                                          


Central Europe
not restored                                                             
Engraved by Charles Copley, N. York
Harper & Brothers New York nd c. 1844
dimensions: 19 3/4" x 12 1/4"
price: $325.00

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