“The one great general map of 1848 was that of Fremont and Preuss…” – Wheat

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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SKU: NL-00556 Categories: ,
Date: 1848
Place: Baltimore
Dimensions: 49.5 x 42.5 cm (19.5 x 17 in)
Condition Rating: VG
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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.


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.

John C. Frémont

John Charles Frémont or Fremont (January 21, 1813 – July 13, 1890) was an American explorer, politician, and soldier who, in 1856, became the first candidate of the Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, when he led five expeditions into the American West, that era’s penny press and admiring historians accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder.

During the Mexican–American War, Frémont, a major in the U.S. Army, took control of California from the California Republic in 1846.

Condition Description

Soft folds. And minor tears in the margins. Clean and nice image.


Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 559.