This is a finely colored example of the 1846 version of Mitchell's seminal map of Texas, Oregon Territory, California, and the Transmississippi West. Published in 1846 from Philadelphia, Mitchell's map of the West was one of the first large-format commercially published maps to show the Transmissisippi West, after the annexation of Texas in 1845. The map was perhaps the single most popular map of the period, used by gold seekers, immigrants, and others whose lives, fortunes, and attentions were focused Westward at the outset of the Mexican-American War.
Beginning in 1846, the Transmississippi West was of particular interest to the American populace, as a result of two recent and related events. In 1845, Texas was admitted to the Union. This prompted Mexico to invade Texas in 1846, thus starting the U.S.-Mexican War. General curiosity about the new state as well as interest in the war led to Mitchell's timely map becoming quite popular.
As stated in the "Accompaniment to Mitchell's new map of Texas, Oregon and California...," in which the map was sometimes issued, Mitchell used the latest and best cartographic sources for the map, including Arrowsmith's 1841 map of Texas, Fremont's and Emory's maps of their explorations in the region, compiled data from the Lewis & Clark expedition, Nicollet's map of the region between the Mississippi and the Missouri, and Wilkes map of Oregon.
This map features the "Stovepipe" configuration showing Texas, at its largest extent when first admitted to the Union. It shows the western boundary at the Rio Grande del Norte, putting Santa Fe in Texas. Part of Texas continues to the northwest above Taos in an area labeled the Green Mountains. These claims to the Upper Rio Grande were eventually given up as part of the Great Compromise of 1850, in exchange for federal assumption of Texas' public debt.
Samuel Augustus Mitchell Sr. (1792 - 1868) began his map-publishing career in the early 1830s. Having worked as a schoolteacher, Mitchell was frustrated with the low quality and inaccuracy of school texts of the period. His first maps were an attempt to rectify this problem. In the next 20 years Mitchell would become the most prominent American map publisher of the mid-19th century. Mitchell worked with prominent engravers J. H. Young, H. S. Tanner, and H. N. Burroughs before attaining the full copyright on his maps in 1847.
In 1849, Mitchell teamed up with printer Cowperthwait & Company to produce Mitchell's Universal Atlas and Mitchell's General Atlas. In the late 1850s most of the Mitchell copyrights were bought by Desilver and Co., who continued to publish his maps, many with modified borders and color schemes, until Mitchell's son, Samuel Augustus Mitchell Jr., entered the picture. S. A. Mitchell Jr. purchased most of the copyrights back from Desilver and, from 1860 on, published his own New General Atlas. The younger Mitchell became as prominent as his father and published atlases well into the late 1880s when most of the copyrights were again sold and the Mitchell firm closed its doors for the final time.
In good condition. Original fold lines visible. Slight restoration to the map includes replacement of a section of the left part of decorative border of the map extending into the Pacific Ocean, including the second letter “C” in “Pacific.” The map has original hand coloring, which is vibrant and intact. Image size: 22 x 20 inches.
The map is artfully and archivally framed in a custom-built black and gold wooden frame with conservation glass. Framed dimensions: 32 1/2" H x 31 1/2" W x 2" D.
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