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A First Edition, Unrestored Copy of Jacob De Cordova's 1849 Map of Texas in Original Condition

[Map]. Jacob De Cordova. J. De Cordova's Map of the State of Texas (1849). Compiled from the Records of the General Land Office of the State, By Robert Creuzbaur. Signed by De Cordova. This is the first edition of De Cordova's famous map (and the first official map of the State of Texas) in its completely original and unrestored condition. This large format lithograph map, measuring 32"x 35.25", is elegantly colored by hand, showing counties, colonies (such as Mercer's Colony and the Fisher-Miller Colony), cities and towns, roads, rivers, and Indian villages. West Texas is entirely absent and only a portion of the Panhandle (noted as the Fannin Land District) is shown. Next to the title is printed, "Without my signature all copies of this map have been fraudulently obtained," followed by De Cordova's signature. Relief is designated by hachures. Folded into the original black, blind- and gilt-stamped cloth covers with title in gilt on front cover. Inset along the left edge titled "Reference to Land Districts" lists the corresponding counties of each district. At lower left is found the official seals of the State of Texas and of the General Land Office with printed comments regarding the map from noted Texans Sam Houston, Thomas Rusk, John C. Hays, etc. with their facsimile signatures. Oval inset map at lower right, measuring 11.5" x 9.5", is brightly colored and depicts the original boundaries of the Republic of Texas surrounded by the United States and northern Mexico. Of particular note is the addition of the short-lived Santa Fe County where the panhandle is today. Scattered light foxing. Two stains run along two lines, one vertical and one horizontal, from adhesion on the verso. Separation is present in places at the intersections of some folds with no loss of paper. Additional separation along the edges of the folds. Boards are moderately worn.

Only a few copies of this edition are known to exist. Among them are at least two being held by institutions: one in Special Collections at the University of Texas at Arlington and the other at the Rosenburg Library in Galveston, Texas. In the last fifteen years, only two copies have been sold at auction, one in 1999 by Siebert and, most recently, by Dorothy Sloan Rare Books in 2013.

This map was the first issued in 1849 and the first revision came the following year. An additional revision came in 1853 before German cartographer Charles W. Pressler further revised it for the Colton Company four more times (1856, 1857, 1858, and 1861). With each new edition or issue, the map makers adjusted for the continuing change in Texas development, but the format remained generally the same over the years. Jenkins, regarding this edition of the map, states: "Sam Houston delivered a speech praising the map on the floor of the U.S. Senate . . . that it was 'the most correct and authentic map of Texas ever compiled.'" Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library, p. 15 & 295A: "[Introduction] Important to Texas geography as a whole . . . providing a valuable record of the social and political evolution of the state during the crucial years when much of its territory was first settled by a population of European origin . . . [Entry 295A] Jacob de Cordova came to Texas in 1837 and quickly became one of the new republic's most active promoters. He was responsible for a number influential pamphlets and guidebooks. Hoping to cash in on the expected land boom following the Mexican War, De Cordova commissioned Robert Creuzbaur, an employee of the Texas General Land Office, to compile this map from that agency's records. The result is a very accurate and detailed map. Creuzbaur followed Austin's format and used an inset to show the western part of the state. The inset on the 1849 issue is of particular interest, since it shows the short-lived Santa Fe County. The Texas legislature had created the county in March, 1848, in a vain attempt to keep alive the state's claim to New Mexico."

"[Jacob] De Cordova, a native of Jamaica, was one of the earliest Jewish settlers in Texas. He supplied goods for the Texas Revolution from New Orleans and settled in Galveston in 1837. [...] He was fluent in English, German, French, Spanish, Hebrew, and several Indian languages. He became one of the leading land merchants in Texas, and worked for thirty years promoting immigration into the state" (Jenkins). In 1847, De Cordova was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, but lost his bid for reelection in 1849. Working as a land agent, he, along with George B. Erath, laid out the town of Waco. He was instrumental in promoting immigration to Texas through speeches, professing her wonders throughout the United States and as far away as England. He also published a number of pamphlets and guidebooks including The Texas Immigrant and Traveller's Guide Book (1856) and Texas, Her Resources and Her Public Men (1858). De Cordova died in 1868.

Reference: Jenkins, Basic Texas Books 38. Bryan & Hanak 23. Contours of Discovery, p. 57: "To meet the needs of new immigrants coming into the state, roads and rivers as well as the political divisions were carefully drawn." Graff, Fifty Texas Rarities 36. Phillips, America, p. 844. Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library, p. 15 & 295A. Eberstadt, Texas 162:241 (for the 1850 edition): "An important and authentic map -- possibly the finest of the period."

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Auction Dates
March, 2014
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 2
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