Description

    The First Printed Atlas to Contain a Separate Map of Texas

    T[homas] G[amaliel] Bradford. A Comprehensive Atlas Geographical, Historical & Commercial. Boston: William D. Ticknor; New-York: Wiley & Long, [copyright 1835].
    First edition of the first printed atlas to contain a separate map of Texas, and the first issue of the Bradford atlas to contain the map of Texas and two pages of text on Texas (subsequent issues had only one page of text on Texas). Large quarto (12.6875 x 10.3125 inches). 1-64, 64A, 64B, 64C, 65-180 pp. (with text pages and map and plate leaves numbered continuously). Hand-colored engraved frontispiece ("The Five Varieties of the Human Race"), with tissue guard, engraved vignette title drawn by E. Tisdale and W. Croome and engraved by J. Andrews, sixty-four engraved maps, hand-colored in outline, three engraved maps and plans with several vignettes, and ten engraved plates (two with hand-coloring and two with several vignettes). Text in double columns.

    Contemporary marbled boards, neatly rebacked with calf and with corners renewed. Spine ruled in gilt and blind and lettered in gilt in compartments. Marbled endpapers. Light to moderate foxing. Small dampstain to upper corner of frontispiece, engraved title, and first two leaves of text. Bookplate removed from front pastedown. Early ink signature erased from verso of front free endpaper. A very good copy.

    The map of Texas in this atlas appears in its earliest form, with "Mustang Wild Horse Desert" shown in south Texas, "Nueces River" designated as the southwestern boundary of Texas, land grants shown instead of land districts and counties, and the city of Austin (founded 1839) not shown yet. As in the earlier issue of Bradford's 1835 atlas, there are three maps that show Texas as part of Mexico: (1) "United States;" (2) "Mexico, Guatemala, and the West Indies," with Texas shown as part of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and with Stephen F. Austin's Colony prominently located, although the accompanying text leaf states that Texas is part of Coahuila y Tejas; and (3) "North America," with Stephen F. Austin's Colony mentioned but not specifically located, and with San Felipe and San Antonio located.

    A plate at the back (p. 145) entitled "Modes of Travelling" has an early depiction of a "Rail Road Car."

    "Although Thomas Gamaliel Bradford [1802-1887] was not a leading figure in the nineteenth century American map trade, his atlases are significant to the cartographic history of Texas because they included the first two maps to depict Texas an independent republic. Bradford's first of three works, A Comprehensive Atlas..., has survived in at least four variant forms, all dated 1835, but some clearly published later. The first of these was issued by the well-known Boston printer W. D. Ticknor, and contained no map of Texas. It must have sold well, for late that same year, or early the next, another edition was issued by the American Stationers's Company. In this issue Bradford, aroused by the revolutionary events in Texas that led to conflict, inserted a new map of Texas after the one of Mexico and accompanied it with a two-page text describing Texas as 'at present engaged in an arduous struggle for independence.' The text included a complete geographical description of the province, its rivers and harbors, its colonies and towns, its climate, crops, and natural resources. It also included a brief account of the colonial developments, leading up to the Declaration of Causes that initiated the Texas Revolution in November 1835...The map itself appeared to be copied directly from [Stephen F. Austin's celebrated Map of Texas, which was published in Philadelphia in 1830], the only readily available authority. The depiction of the rivers and the coast were certainly modeled from Austin's, as were the numerous notes on its face relating to Indian tribes and horse herds. The map differed from Austin's primarily in its prominent display of numerous colonization grants and a plethora of new settlements and towns, indicative of the massive influx of colonists occurring after the publication of Austin's work. Another significant departure from Austin was the map's depiction of the Arkansas boundary controversy. The 'Boundary of 1819' was shown, corresponding to the present boundary of the state, but to the west another line, labeled 'prop'd Boundary of Arkansas,' was depicted, which would have assigned the northeast corner of Texas to that state. The map also extended west beyond Austin's to the Pecos, erroneously showing the Guadalupe Mountains to the east of that river. Two later editions of Bradford's Atlas appeared, both still dated 1835 on the title page, with differing editions of the map and the text on Texas. The first of these, which must have appeared in late 1836, carried the map unaltered, but with the text compressed to one page and referring to Texas as an independent nation. The final form of the Atlas left this new text unaltered, but the map was changed to show the inchoate counties and land districts of the young Republic. Bradford published a completely new atlas in 1838, in a larger format, and the map of Texas it contained was even more clearly patterned on Austin's. Aside from showing Texas as a separate state, the maps and text Bradford inserted into his atlases are historically important for clearly demonstrating the demand in the United States for information about Texas during the Revolution and the early years of the Republic" (Martin & Martin, Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513-1900, Plate 31).

    Phillips, Atlases, 770. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 408, 409, 410.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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