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One of the seminal cartographic achievements for the mapping of the West.

Place/Date: New York / 1851
$825.
Title: Map of a Reconnoissance between Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River, and the Great Salt Lake in the Territory Of Utah…
Technique
Lithograph
Dimensions
175 x 76 cm (69 x 30 in)
Identifier
NL-00662
Coloring
Old color
Condition Rating
VG

Description

In 1849, officials of the US Army Corps of Topographical Engineers sent Captain Howard Stansbury and his assistant Liuetenant John Williams Gunnison on a two-year expedition to explore and survey the Great Salt Lake Valley. While the area was not unknown — indeed a major influx of Mormon settlers had already taken place — the the end of the end of the Mexican-America War in 1848 and the massive new western areas gained by the United States, spurned a new era of scientific mapping there.

Thus it was that in May 1849, Stansbury, Gunnison, and a small team set out for the Great Salt Lake from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Along the way, they accumulated the cartographic data that would form the basis for this map, a remarkable scientific achievement. It intricately maps parts of the Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas rivers. From east to west, it extends from the edge of modern-day Kansas City, past modern-day Denver, and on to the emerging Salt Lake City.

The map is considered to be the first accurate survey of the Great Basin and the southern Rocky Mountains, and was especially important in identifying a new, shorter route to the Salt Lake through Bridger’s Pass and Cheyenne Pass. The route, carefully recorded in exceptional detail, had an enduring impact; the Overland Stage, Pony Express, and Union Pacific, would all make use of it.

A cornerstone map for the history of cartography in the emerging American West.

Cartographer(s)

Charles Preuss

George Karl Ludwig Preuss (1803–1854), anglicized as Charles Preuss, was a surveyor and cartographer who accompanied John C. Fremont on three of his five exploratory expeditions of the American west, including the expedition where he and Fremont were the first to record seeing Lake Tahoe from a mountaintop vantage point as they traversed what is now Carson Pass in February 1844.

Howard Stansbury

Howard Stansbury (February 8, 1806 – April 17, 1863) was a major in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. His most notable achievement was leading a two-year expedition (1849–1851) to survey the Great Salt Lake and its surroundings. The expedition report entitled Exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, including a reconnaissance of a new route through the Rocky Mountains was published in 1852 providing the first serious scientific exploration of the flora and fauna of the Great Salt Lake Valley.

John Williams Gunnison

John Williams Gunnison (November 11, 1812 – October 26, 1853) was an American military officer and explorer.

Condition Description

Bright image backed on linen. Some soiling and loss. Usually this map is found on weak, wrinkled paper. An excellent example.

References

Wheat 764, 765.

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