1857 Emory Survey Map of the Western United States

Map of the United States and their territories between the Mississippi and the Pacific Ocean and part of Mexico... - Main View

1857 Emory Survey Map of the Western United States


'General Map' of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary Survey.


Map of the United States and their territories between the Mississippi and the Pacific Ocean and part of Mexico...
  1857 (dated)     20.25 x 23 in (51.435 x 58.42 cm)     1 : 6000000


This is Emory and Michler's critically important 1857 map of the American West produced following the Treaty of Guadeloupe-Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase. The product of years of labor, delays, and frustrations, it appeared in Emory's monumental Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey and was by far the most complete map of the American West at the time.
A Closer Look
This remarkable map, often known simply as 'The General Map,' is the result of the compilation of years of survey work, including some by Emory that predated the Mexican-American War (1846 - 1848). In the wake of that war and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the U.S. set about surveying its new borders according to the terms of the treaty. However, this proved to be a daunting logistical challenge and was held up by subsequent negotiations. Political and diplomatic disputes caused the Survey to halt its work and limit its scope at various points, part of the reason for multiple large areas being noted as 'unexplored.'

Aside from the very large Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, and Washington Territories, many other placenames and borders would change in the following years. For example, Salt Lake City retains the use of the prefix 'Great' in its name, which would be dropped in 1866, while San Bernardino appears with the feminine form of its name as 'Bernardina' and Monterey, California with the unusual spelling 'Montery.' As was common in the Antebellum period, United States is used as a plural noun in the title.

The delays on the Survey were exasperating for Emory and the other cartographers and surveyors involved, but it did allow them to continuously update information and, in this case, include the recent Gadsen Purchase (the border as agreed in earlier agreements that were superseded by the Gadsen Purchase are shown with dotted lines). The final product, a massive multi-volume report published in 1857, is a landmark in the history of the American West, including not only maps and descriptions of terrain but also information on Native American cultures, botany, zoology, geology, paleontology, and more.
Publication History and Census
This map was drawn by Lt. Nathaniel Michler and Thomas Jekyll, under the supervision of William H. Emory, utilizing a variety of sources, including their own survey work. It was engraved and printed by Selmar Seibert in Washington, D.C. as part of the Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey. It is similar to but distinct from the earlier, less detailed, and larger 'Map of the territory of the United States from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean: ordered by the Hon. Jeff'n Davis, Secretary of War' that was also included in the report and attributed to G. K. Warren, as well as other earlier maps produced under Emory's leadership. Often dated to 1858, this map appears in the catalogs of about 20 institutions, while the entire Report (not necessarily including this map) is more widespread.


William Hemsley Emory (September 7, 1811 - December 1, 1887) was an American surveyor, civil engineer, and Army officer. Born in Queen Anne's County, Maryland, Emory graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1831, was assigned to the Fourth Artillery, and resigned from service in 1836 to pursue civil engineering. He returned to the army in 1838 to serve in the newly-formed Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. During the Mexican-American War, Emory served in the Army of the West under the command command of Stephen Watts Kearny. While serving with Kearny, he kept a detailed journal that was then published as Notes of a Military Reconnaissance from Fort Leavenworth to San Diego and soon became an important guidebook for the route to Southern California. After the war, Emory served as part of the team that surveyed the United States-Mexican border. When the American Civil War started, Emory was stationed in Indian Territory and immediately realized the likelihood that Confederates would capture him and his men. To avoid this, Emory quickly secured the services of Black Beaver, the famous Lenape warrior, to guide them out of the territory. Emory and his troops, on their way from Fort Washita to Fort Leavenworth, captured a number of their Confederate pursuers, which were the first prisoners taken during the war. Emory then served in the Army of the Potomac, in the Western Theater, and in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1854. After the war, Emory held the post of commander of the Department of the Gulf during Reconstruction and, in September 1874, President Ulysses S. Grant ordered Emory to New Orleans, where he successfully negotiated a peace with the white supremacist paramilitary organization the White League, which led to the White League being disbanded. Emory married Matilda Wilkins Bache on May 29, 1838 in Philadelphia, with whom he had two sons, both of which served in the United States armed forces. Matilda Bache was Alexander D. Bache's sister. Alexander Bache was one of the most influential superintendents of the United States Coast Survey. More by this mapmaker...

Nathaniel Michler (September 13, 1827 - July 17, 1881) was an American military officer and mapmaker who served during the American Civil War. Born in Easton, Pennsylvania, Michler attended West Point, from which he graduated seventh in his class. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Topographical Engineers, Michler participated in the Mexican Boundary Survey from 1851 until 1857, when he was transferred to serve as the chief topographical engineer in surveys for a proposed canal from the Gulf of Darien to the Pacific Ocean from 1858 until 1860. He held the rank of Captain at the outbreak of the American Civil War and served with the Army of the Cumberland from 1861 - 1863, then was transferred to the Army of the Potomac and built defensive works for the Union Army at the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. He was promoted to Colonel in August 1864 and brevetted Brigadier General in April 1865. After the war, Michler served as superintendent in the District of Columbia until 1871 and from 1872 to 1875 was chief engineer with the General Commanding Division of the Pacific. He acted as military attaché for the United States Legation in Vienna, Austria from 1878 to 1880. Learn More...


Emory, William H., Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, (Washington D. C.: Cornelius Wendell) 1857.    


Very good. A small hole in the Oklahoma panhandle. Some creasing and wear along fold lines in margin.


Rumsey 0263.001. OCLC 953569475, 5485392, 367459991, 746105989, 166636446.