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Stock# 102090

A presentation copy of William Keeler's large 1867 National Map, one of the most influential 19th-century maps of the American West, presented by Nathaniel Green Taylor, Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1867 to 1869, to Henry Van Aernam, Congressman from New York (1865 to 1869).

The map was prepared within the Indian Bureau chiefly (but not exclusively) for official governmental uses. It had three primary focuses: railroads, economically significant geology, and Indian reservations. Keeler understood these as the most salient themes in the West at the time.

To that end, Keeler provides a thorough compilation of data from many governmental sources, and, through color coding, he shows the locations of gold, silver, copper, quicksilver, iron, and coal. The map depicts completed and proposed railroad lines, as are land offices, forts, and military posts.

Critical Appraisal

Keeler's map has been described as the largest, finest, and most detailed map of the West as it was then known.

Martin & Martin say of the map:

In 1867, seeking to take advantage of public interest in all aspects of the West, but particularly the railroad routes, William J. Keeler, an engineer working in the Indian Bureau, published a large, attractive map of the entire country west of the Mississippi. As a product no doubt of Keeler's own employment with the Indian Bureau, the various Indian reservations were clearly shown and identified by a color scheme, an early use of this thematic device.

Wheat writes:

Keeler's map extends from Cincinnati to the Pacific, and from about the 32nd to the 42nd parallel--or from Ft. Reno in Wyoming to Ft. Filmore in New Mexico; It has a superior showing of new military data, being in advance even of the Colton maps (for example, Ft. Fetterman on the upper North Platte, Camp Douglas near Great Salt Lake City, Ft. Reynolds, Ft. Morgan, and Ft. Sedgwick in Colorado). It also displays, with color symbols, deposits of gold, silver, coal, copper, and quick silver from eastern Colorado to California--information . . . economically pertinent to railroad operations. But primarily it is interesting for railroad routes west of the Missouri; The Union Pacific is shown completed as far as Fort D.A. Russell, near Cheyenne, the projected route then going past Ft. Sanders on the Larame, and past Ft. Hallbeck to Bitter Creek; alterations of the route made west of the Larmie by Dodge and his engineers in the summer of 1867 had not yet come to Keeler's attention. The route goes on by Echo Canyon to the Great Salt Lake Valley, then swings north around the lake to the Humboldt, somewhere in the stretch becoming the Central Pacific R.R. The latter, somewhat prematurely, is shown completed down the Truckee almost to the great bend of that river.

What appears on this map as the "U.P.R.W.E.D." is represented as completed all the way to Ft. Wallace, near the west edge of Kansas (That was the expectation of the Company in the summer of 1867). Just beyond, inside the Colorado line, this road branches, one route going northwesterly to Denver, the other southwesterly to Arkansas and the Purgatorie, thence to Ft. Union and Albuquerque, and on to California via the route later actually employed by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. From Albuquerque yet another line follows down the Rio Grande, with an extensive western branch turning off at Ft. McRae to seek out California via the Gila. This latter branch is not labelled. Keeler's railroad map is full of factual information, but is also full of hope and faith.

William Keeler's map of the West is regarded as a landmark in the mapping of the region, providing the best detailed and comprehensive look at the Western railroad system after the close of the Civil War. His large map was widely distributed, and its influence on the history of the mapping of the Transmississippi West was profound.

Editions and States

1867.1 National Map of the United States (57.5 x 47.5 inches) - the present example
1867.2 National Map of the United States (57.5 x 47.5 inches)
1868.a National Map of the United States (37.25 x 29.5 inches)
1868.b National Map of the United States (22 x 28.5 inches), Wheat 1187 

Condition Description
Linen backed, with original covers. Usual minor fold separations and minor staining along folds.
Martin & Martin 47. See Wheat, C.I. (TM) 1170.