1889 Rand McNally Map of the Pacific Coast from San Diego to Chilkat, Alaska

Map Showing Routes of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. - Main View

1889 Rand McNally Map of the Pacific Coast from San Diego to Chilkat, Alaska


Promoting Tourism from Santa Barbara to Sitka.


Map Showing Routes of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company.
  1889 (dated)     27 x 12.5 in (68.58 x 31.75 cm)     1 : 3000000


This is a scarce 1889 Rand McNally map of the Pacific Coast of North America, produced to show and promote the routes of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company just a few years prior to the Klondike gold rush. The scope of the map extends from the Mexican border in the south to British Columbia and Vancouver Island in the North. An inset map detials from that point to 'Mousouah' Lake in Alaska, (presumably Mosquito Lake).
A Tourist Brochure
The target audience for this map were primarily tourists: the verso text pitches a month-long sightseeing journey to Alaska from San Francisco in glowing terms, and the illustrations on the map's covers and cartouche highlight the dramatic vistas. The map's cartouche offers a vignette of the Thousand Islands as viewed from Sitka, while the front cover presents a view of the steamship Idaho navigating Glacier Bay. (For those desiring a warmer journey, the brochure does not neglect the company's southern routes: the back cover shows a fashionable woman and her daughters perambulating Santa Barbara's palm tree orchard.)
Rich in Data
Beyond the map itself, which marks out both express and local routes north and south from San Francisco, the map also displays tables indicating distances between important destinations; the verso contains tables of ticket prices, schedules, and ticket agents. The verso text also includes detailed descriptions of featured destinations.
The Pacific Coast Steamship Company
At the time this brochure was published, the company was running two steamboats up the coast to Alaska. One of these, the Ancon, would have its career cut short later the same year when it ran aground and broke in Loring, Alaska (happily, without casualty.) Since we see editions of this map produced as late as 1911, it must be presumed that this disaster did not ruin the company, and that the tourist trade (and the subsequent Yukon Gold Rush) was able to keep them busy. We are left to speculate what other cargos the Steamship Company carried: the ship depicted in the Glacier Bay vignette, the Idaho, had been caught smuggling opium in the early 1880s.
Publication History and Census
OCLC lists thirteen examples of this map, in seven editions ranging between 1886 and 1911. Only two examples of the 1889 were located, one at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and the other at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library.


Rand, McNally and Co. (fl. 1856 - present) is an American publisher of maps, atlases and globes. The company was founded in 1856 when William H. Rand, a native of Quincy, Massachusetts, opened a print shop in Chicago. Rand hired the recent Irish immigrant Andrew McNally to assist in the shop giving him a wage of 9 USD per week. The duo landed several important contracts, including the Tribune's (later renamed the Chicago Tribune) printing operation. In 1872, Rand McNally produced its first map, a railroad guide, using a new cost effective printing technique known as wax process engraving. As Chicago developed as a railway hub, the Rand firm, now incorporated as Rand McNally, began producing a wide array of railroad maps and guides. Over time, the firm expanded into atlases, globes, educational material, and general literature. By embracing the wax engraving process, Rand McNally was able to dominate the map and atlas market, pushing more traditional American lithographic publishers like Colton, Johnson, and Mitchell out of business. Eventually Rand McNally opened an annex office in New York City headed by Caleb S. Hammond, whose name is today synonymous with maps and atlases, and who later started his own map company, C. S. Hammond & Co. Both firms remain in business. Learn More...


Good. Some mended splits, and minor loss at junctures of folds.


Rumsey 5232.001 (1896). OCLC 45178306.