Map of Oregon and Upper California from the surveys of John Charles Fremont and others authorities drawn by Charles Preuss…1848
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“The one great general map of 1848 was that of Fremont and Preuss…” – Wheat
Fremont’s landmark map of the West, focusing on California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
Looking at the western part of America, one is struck by the massive ridge line of the Rocky Mountains, which cuts through the landscape. The mountains themselves have been rendered in exceptional detail for the time, and clearly show that Colton had had the opportunity to draw on the reports of John Charles Frémont, also known as ‘The Pathfinder’. Frémont was an American officer and explorer, and the first Republican presidential candidate. Between 1842 and 1846 he led several expeditions to explore the Rockies, producing extraordinary maps as a result. Aside from a decisive cartographic achievement, Frémont’s work epitomized the spirit of an age, in which intrepid explorers mapped wild lands under the aegis of the expanding American nation. The level of detail is echoed in other western ranges, such as the Sierra Nevadas, also explored by Frémont.
The present issue of the map, which was originally published with Frémont’s Geographical Memoir Upon Upper California, came with California Messages and Correspondence, House Ex. Doc. 17, 31st Congress, 1st Session, 1850, and is smaller than the original issue, being confined to the California and Great Basin portions, but is on the same scale. Wheat notes that this issue “more fully renders Fremont’s routes of 1846 in the Central Valley than do the original issues of 1848 and 1849.”
As noted by Wheat:
“though the map is not without defects, it is a wonderfully graphic report on where the expedition of 1845-46 went and what it saw. Great credit must be given to Edward M. Kern [for the topographical work] . . . . As a contribution to cartographical knowledge, the case for the map’s importance was well put by Fremont himself . . . In extent, it embraces the whole western side of this continent between the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and between the Straits of Fuca and the Gulf of California . . . It is, without question, the most influential map of the region during the 19th Century and a centerpiece to any western map collection.”
This second edition, issued following the discovery of Gold in 1848, is a full scale section of the southwestern part of the first edition of the map, without changes, intended to illustrate the discovery of gold.
Soft folds. And minor tears in the margins. Clean and nice image.
Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 559.