Britton & Rey’s Reduced Map of the State of California…With Additions Showing the Railroad System of California

Cartographer(s): Britton & Rey, George E. Goddard
Date: 1871
Place: San Francisco
Dimensions: 40.5 x 33 cm (16 x 13 in)
Condition Rating: VG

Out of stock

SKU: NL-00134 Category:

Britton & Rey 1871 railroad map of California.


Britton & Rey’s map California from a pamphlet on the Pacific Railroad and its terminus in Oakland.

Style and simplicity, with detailed railroad and topographic information.


Britton & Rey

Britton & Rey (1852 – 1906) was a lithographic printing firm based in San Francisco and founded by Joseph Britton and Jacques Joseph Rey in 1852. Especially during the second half of the 19th century, Britton and Rey became the leading lithography firm in San Francisco, and probably California. Among their many publications were birds-eye-views of Californian cities, depictions of the exquisite landscapes, stock certificates, and no least maps. While Rey was the primary artist, Britton worked not only as the main lithographer but was essentially also the man running the business. In addition to their own material, the firm reproduced the works of other American artists like Thomas Almond Ayres (1816 – 1858), George Holbrook Baker (1824 – 1906), Charles Christian Nahl (1818 – 1878), and Frederick August Wenderoth (1819 – 1884). Following Rey’s death in 1892 Britton passed the form on to Rey’s son, Valentine J. A. Rey, who ran it until the great earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed most of the company’s assets.

Joseph Britton (1825 – July 18, 1901) was a lithographer and the co-founder of the prominent San Francisco lithography studio Britton and Rey. He was also a civic leader in San Francisco, serving on the Board of Supervisors and helping to draft a new city charter. In 1852, he became active in lithography and publishing, first under the name ‘Pollard and Britton,’ and then ‘Britton and Rey,’ a printing company founded with his friend and eventual brother-in-law Jacques Joseph Rey. Britton and Rey became the premier lithographic and engraving studio of the Gold Rush era, producing letter sheets, maps, and artistic prints.

Jacques Joseph Rey (1820 – 1892) was a French engraver and lithographer born in the Alsatian town of Bouxwiller. At the age of about 30, he emigrated to America, eventually settling in California. Here, he soon entered into a partnership with local entrepreneur and civic leader Joseph Britton. Three years later, Rey also married Britton’s sister, allowing his business partner and brother-in-law Britton to live in their house with them. Rey and Britton were not only an important part of the San Francisco printing and publishing scene but also owned a plumbing and gas-fitting firm. In the early years, both men would sometimes partner up with others on specific projects, but by the late 1860s, their partnership was more or less exclusive.

George E. Goddard

George Henry Goddard (1817-1906) was an accomplished artist and civil engineer who played a pivotal role in California’s early history. Originally from England, he ventured to California during the height of the Gold Rush, initially seeking fortune in the goldfields. His transition to professional surveying soon entailed working for the California government and winning lucrative contracts from railway and mining companies. This work, in turn, led to significant contributions in cartography, including notable publications such as Britton & Rey’s Map Of The State Of California (1857).

In recognition of his groundbreaking work in surveying the Sierra Nevada, one of the range’s highest peaks (13,564 feet) was named ‘Mount Goddard’ after him in 1864. His later move to San Francisco saw the creation of several iconic representations of the city and its surroundings, etching his name into San Francisco’s historical legacy.

Throughout his adult life, Goddard diligently collected historical objects and documents pertaining to California. Stanford was planning on building a museum for his collection when it was destroyed in the fires following the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. While Goddard himself survived the conflagration, the calamity took such a toll that he died a few months later.

Condition Description

Some browning and tears along right edge; very good.