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Description

A very rare and little-known edition of the most important map of Texas during the early statehood period.

Jacob De Cordova (1808 - 1868) was one of the first major land speculators in Texas. He hired Robert Creuzbaur, of the Texas General Land Office, to compile this map for promotional purposes. It was the first map of the state to be constructed through the use of the files of the Land Office, which was responsible for keeping a record of all land transactions in the state, though De Cordova is said to have spent a great deal of time in the saddle, personally studying Texas real estate. The land office was especially important, as Texas had been allowed to keep its public lands when it entered the Union, the only state allowed to do so, and the Land Office records were the only reasonably accurate source for the topography of some 250 million acres in the public domain. Creuzbaur gave equal attention to the more settled eastern parts of the state, and the map is the best, most detailed record of settlement in Texas during the period. Measuring nearly three feet square, it was the first large-scale map of Texas.

De Cordova's map was originally published in Houston in 1849, with subsequent Houston editions issued in 1851, 1853, and 1854. Publication rights were subsequently sold to J. H. Colton, who published editions in New York from 1856 onwards. This 1861 edition is the best cartographic record of Texas at the beginning of the Civil War. It incorporates extensive revisions, with new counties, towns, railroads, roads, and topographical detail, particularly in the little-known western parts of the state.

R. S. Martin noted that without question, "the map published by Jacob De Cordova in 1849 best summarizes the geographical information available about Texas immediately after the Mexican War...the map presents a remarkably accurate and detailed rendering of the area south and east of San Antonio." But north and west of that point, however, "the data are scarce and the features sparse." However, the later editions were carefully revised to account for new information, particularly in West Texas, and it is this fact that makes them so valuable.

All editions of De Cordova's map are rare, but the 1861 edition seems to be among the rarest. This edition is not in the Texas State Archives, which has those of 1851, 1856, 1866 and 1872 (Day); not in the Library of Congress, which has the editions of 1849, 1851, 1853, 1856, and 1857 (Phillips, America); not in the Rosenberg Library, which has the 1849, 1851, and 1856 editions (Taliaferro); and not in University of Texas at Arlington, which has only the 1849 edition.

Condition Description
A few minor fold splits, repaired on verso. Minor discoloration at folds. With original covers (disbound)
Reference