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1835 Bradford Map of Mexico, Central America and West Indies


Mexico, Guatemala and the West Indies.
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Price: $300.00
Title:    Mexico, Guatemala and the West Indies.

Description:    This beautiful map of Mexico, Guatemala and the West Indies was printed in 1835 by the important American mapmaker T. G. Bradford. It covers from Upper California and New Albion south to Panama, including the modern day regions of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Mexico. Bradford's map offers an interesting pre-Republic mapping of state of Coahuila and Texas. Austin's Colony is the only Texas land grant identified.

Further west this map really gets interesting with the mappings of Escalante and Humboldt very much in evidence. Bradford curiously charts two lakes in the Great Basin, one labeled Timpanagos and another smaller lake further south labeled Salt Lake. He is following Escalante's discoveries as recorded on the Miera map. The Escalante expedition actually visited Utah Lake (identified here as Salt Lake), but only heard about the Great Salt Lake from local Native American Ute tribe. Miera, Escalante's cartographer, thus mapped Timpanagos as much larger than the unseen 'Great Salt Lake'. The curious settlement of Brigsda is also noted just south of Lake Utah.

Bradford also maps the apocryphal Buenaventura River running from the Rocky Mountains westward through 'Salt Lake' and westward to San Francisco Bay. The Buenaventura is the last incarnation of the apocryphal River of the West, a long sought after speculative alternative to the Northwest Passage. The mapping of Buenaventura here again references legitimate discoveries by Escalante of the White River and the Sevier River. In this case, both are mistakenly associated with the River of the West and given an erroneous outlet into San Francisco Bay.

Towns, rivers, mountains and various other important topographical details are noted. Elevation throughout is rendered by hachure and political and regional territories are color coded.

This map was published as plate no. 65 in Thomas G. Bradford's 1835 Comprehensive Atlas Geographical, Historical and Commercial.  Bradford's atlas, published in 1835 was an important work on many levels.  First, it was one of the first American atlases to follow an encyclopedic format, offering readers extensive geographical and statistical tables to supplement the maps themselves.  Second, it was published in Boston and influenced the city's rise as a publishing center later in the 19th century (at the time most publishing in the United States was restricted to New York and Philadelphia).  Third, this atlas was the first to contain a separate and specific map showing the Republic of Texas.  Fourth and finally, Bradford's atlas in some instances broke the Euro-centric mold regarding atlas production.  Among other things, Bradford focused his atlas on the Americas and abandoned the classical decoration common in European atlases in favor of a more informational and inherently American approach.

Bradford published this atlas in several editions and with various partners.  The first edition was published by William D. Ticktor and did not contain the iconic Republic of Texas map (although we have in fact seen Ticktor examples with a Texas map, suggesting, against conventional wisdom, that there may have been two Ticktor editions).  The second official edition, published in the same year by the American Stationers Company, was the first to contain the Republic of Texas map, which is based on Austin's map, with two pages of descriptive text.  A third edition was issued in 1836, also by American Stationers (though still dated 1835), and contained an unaltered Republic of Texas map with only a single page of descriptive test.  A fourth edition appeared later, possibly 1837, and included an updated and revised map of Texas that replaces the old Mexican land grants with new inchoate counties. The maps from this atlas are an important addition to any collection focusing on early American cartography and Republic of Texas cartography.

All maps in this atlas, though not specifically noted as such, were most likely engraved by G. W. Boynton of Boston, who also engraved most of the maps for Bradford's later publication.


Date:    1835 (undated)

Source:    Bradford, T. G., A Comprehensive Atlas Geographical, Historical and Commercial (Boston), 1835.    

References:    Rumsey 2643.075 (1838 edition).

Cartographer:    Thomas Gamaliel Bradford (1802-1887) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked as an assistant editor for the America Encyclopedia. Bradford's first major cartographic work was his revision and subsequent republishing of an important French geography by Adrian Balbi, published in America as Atlas Designed to Illustrate the Abridgement of Universal Geography, Modern & Ancient. Afterwards Bradford revised and expanded this work into his own important contributions to American cartography, the 1838 "An Illustrated Atlas Geographical, Statistical and Historical of the United States and Adjacent Countries. In his long career as a map publisher Bradford worked with Ticknor of Boston, Freeman Hunt & Company of New York, De Silver of Philadelphia, Hinton, Boynton, and others. Click here for a list of rare maps from Thomas Gamaliel Bradford.

Cartographer:    George Washington Boynton (fl. c. 1830 - 1850) was a Boston based cartographer and map engraver active in the first half of the 19th century. Boynton engraved and compiled maps for numerous publishers including Thomas Bradford, Nathaniel Dearborn, Daniel Adams, and S. G. Goodrich. His most significant work is most likely his engraving of various maps for Bradford's National Atlas. He also engraved for the Boston Almanac. In 1835 Boynton is listed as an employee of the Boston Bewick Company, an engraving, stereotype, and printing concern based at no. 47 Court Street, Boston. Little else is known of his life. Click here for a list of rare maps by G. W. Boynton.

Size:   Printed area measures 10.5 x 8 inches (26.67 x 20.32 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 22500000

Condition:    Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor spotting at places. Blank on verso.

Code:   Mexico-bradford-1835 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    Bradford , Great Salt Lake , Buenaventura River

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