1847 "Pictorial Map of the United States" by Ensign and Thayer

Offered is a scarce map of the United States and Mexico by Ensign and Thayer. This pictorial map features a unique view of the U.S. with exquisite hand-coloring and well-defined territory borders. The map is one of the few to identify San Francisco as “Yerba Buena,” as well as to exhibit the full territorial claims of Texas, extending as far north as the border of present day Wyoming.

This map exhibits Texas during the period between its Annexation in 1846 and the Compromise of 1850. The map shows a unique view of Upper California prior to the breakup of the land into multiple territories. As one of the earliest examples extending from coast to coast, the work provides an elaborate depiction of the newly acquired territories and recently established borders of the young country.

Items of note include the lack of railway routes, as there were no railroads extending west of the Mississippi river at this time. The map also predates the Gold Rush, thus Sacramento is not yet present. However, the map does note John Sutter’s colony of New Helvetica, nearby Sutter’s Fort, where gold would be found the following year. San Francisco is labeled as Yerba Buena here, relating to the original Spanish name of the settlement. The name survived well into the Mexican-American War until 1847, when Washington Allon Bartlett, the first U.S. Citizen to be named Alcalde of Yerba Buena, officially changed the name to San Francisco. The name only appears on maps from between the years of 1846 to 1849.

As a pictorial map, the work is surrounded by numerous pictorial vignettes illustrating the following scenes: the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill; Perry's Opening of Japan; the Landing of the Pilgrims in 1620; farm tools; the 1846 Battle of Monterrey; the United States House of Representatives Chamber; Justice personified; the signing of the Declaration of Independence; Liberty personified; the Senate Chamber; the capture of General La Vega 1846; weapons and armor; the landing of Columbus 1492; the Constitution and Guerriere and the 1775 Battle of Lexington.

The map was first issued by Ensign, Thayer, and Phelps in 1847 and this is the first edition of this map. A second edition was issued by Ensign and Thayer in 1848, reworked with different surrounding scenes. The work was later adjusted in a succeeding issue of 1849 and later again in 1850, of which frequent examples appear. The first and second editions of this map, issued during the Mexican-American War, are scarce. The maps later surged in popularity after the war, reflecting increased interest in the American West fueled by both the Gold Rush and general expansionism, so revised editions appearing after 1849 are far more common. All editions are revised from an original engraving by J.M. Atwood.


Very good condition with original hand coloring. Map has been professionally restored and backed with fresh linen. Some cracking, due to age, all of which has been stabilized. A visually striking map with a very strong plate impression.

Map has been archivally framed with a black linen mat, wooden spandrel, UV Plexiglas, and a black and gold custom-built frame. Framed dimensions: 46" H x 57 1/4" W x 1 3/4" D.

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