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Rare Map of San Francisco By California's First African American Lithographer and Artist.

Fine early map of San Francisco, engraved by California's first African American lithographer, Grafton Taylor Brown.  

Pencil notes show "Odd F." "Calvary L[one] M[ount]" and "Calvary Cemy".

The map shows the developing city, with a number of wharves and ferry's named, including:

  • Saucelito Ferry
  • Meigg Wharf
  • Vallejo & Cal P.RR Steamers
  • San Quentin Ferry
  • Sacramento & Stockton Ferry
  • Oakland Ferry
  • Oregon & Mexican Wharf
  • P.M.S.S. Wharf (Steamers for China and Panama)
  • China  Basin
  • Central Basin
  • India Dock
  • Dry Dock

The San Miguel Toll Road is shown (and Toll Gate), Spring Valley Waterworks near Lake Honda, Alms House, Halfway House, Ocean House Toll Road (and Toll Gate), Ocean Race Course, Ocean House, Old San Jose Road, Dingman School House, Industrial School, Stm Mary's College, Holly Park, University College Grounds and other details are shown.

We noted that Bishop published directories in the 1870s and 1880s for the following cities:

  • Virginia City, Gold Hill, Silver City, Carson City and Reno (1878)
  • San Jose (1876)
  • San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda (1880)
  • City & County of San Francisco (1877)
  • Oakland (1877-78)
  • Stockton (1876-77)

For the 1877 San Francisco Directory above, OCLC locates 2 copies, with no mention of a map.


The 1875 edition of this map is unrecorded.  OCLC locates 2 copies of the 1876 edition of the map (Bancroft, California Historical Society)

Provenance:  Warren Heckrotte Collection, purchased from PBA Galleries, May 19, 2016 (Lot 103)

Condition Description
Early pencil notations. Top right border replaced with expert facsimile.
Grafton Tyler Brown & Co. Biography

Grafton Tyler Brown, perhaps the first African American artist to depict California and the Pacific Coast, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, February 22, 1841.  Before he was twenty, Brown moved to San Francisco and learned the art of lithography from C. C. Kuchel.  In 1861 and again in 1864, Brown created the two earliest bird's eye views of Virginia City.  At the age of twenty-six, he established his own firm, G.T. Brown & Co.

At San Francisco, and elsewhere in California, Brown produced skillfully illustrated bank notes, labels, and maps, and stock certificates for Wells Fargo, Levi Strauss and Co., and several mining companies.  His significant lithographic production, The Illustrated History of San Mateo County (1878), featured seventy-two views of the county's communities and ranches.  Brown traveled throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and British Columbia (where he settled in 1882), producing maps and illustrations, including many landscape paintings.

In 1893,  Brown secured employment as a draftsman at the St. Paul, Minnesota office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Sometime during his St. Paul years he married Elberta Brown.  Brown's work with the Corps of Engineers ended in December 1897, after which he worked in the civil engineering department of the city of St. Paul until 1910.  He died on March 3, 1918, in Nicollet County, Minnesota, bringing to a close a rich and varied career as an artist and illustrator of the American West.