1856 Map of the United States from the Latest Authorities, Published by Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning

Presented is a scarce American wall map of the United States by Ensign, Bridgman, and Fanning in 1856. As the title suggests, the map covers the United States from the Atlantic Ocean, west to Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas Territory, Indian Territory and Texas. Inset maps in the lower right include a “Map of the Western Portion of the United States” and the “Southern part of Florida.” 

This is a classic map of the “Manifest Destiny” era, showing rapid westward expansion and new territories. Even the cartouche is symbolic of America’s evolution into a world superpower. A prominent bald eagle proudly perches atop the globe, implying dominance. Behind him, a bustling port city filled with trade ships leads to a countryside crisscrossed with train routes and dotted with factories and hubs of industry. The beautifully engraved margin celebrates the states in the union, indicating their date of statehood while boasting growing population numbers. And the bottom margin corners are decorated with overflowing cornucopias of fruits, grain, flowers and produce. 

This map was updated several times in the mid-19th century, to indicate territorial and border changes west of the Mississippi River. In this 1856 printing, Texas is configured with borders established as a result of the Compromise of 1850 and New Mexico has added new territory thanks to the Gadsden Purchase. The borders of Kansas and Nebraska adhere to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of May 30, 1854 in which Nebraska stretches to the Canadian border. The map notes emigrant and exploration routes to the west, including Fremont's Route, The Oregon Trail, and the Santa Fe Caravan route. Native American lands are also identified throughout.

This map was first published in 1849 by Horace Thayer and Edward Hooker Ensign, who had it engraved by John M. Atwood. The imprint varied over the years, with the 1851 edition also attributed to 'Ensign and Thayer', an 1853 edition attributed solely to Horace Thayer, and editions from at least 1855 and on attributed to 'Ensign, Bridgeman, and Fanning', like the present example. The map proved very popular and successful. 


Very good condition, with original hand coloring. Paper toning is present. Scattered creasing and cracking to paper, more prevalent in margins. Imprint is strong and publication and titles remain intact. Attached to black wooden rollers and backed on linen. Map is sold unframed, on rollers, as issued. Unframed Dimensions: 38” H x 41” W.