Stephen H. Long's Map of the Region From The Mississippi to the Rockies
Fine example of Stephen Long's seminal map of the region drained by the Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri & Mississippi Rivers, one of the most important maps of the American West.
Stephen H. Long led a Government expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1819 and 1820. Following on the heals of the Lewis & Clark expedition, it is generally regarded as one of the most important early overland expeditions. This map was the primary map illustrating the official account of Long's expedition, Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, Performed in the Years 1819, 1820. By Order of the Hon. J.C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, under the Command of Maj. S.H. Long, of the U.S. Top. Engineers. Compiled from the Notes of Major Long, Mr. T. Say, and Other Gentlemen of the Party, by Edwin James, Botanist and Geologist to the Expedition, published in both Philadelphia and London in 1823.
While the map was produced by Long, the report of the expedition was written by Edwin James, the botanist who accompanied Long. Other members of the expedition were Thomas Say as naturalist and entomologist, and Titian Peale as draughtsman. The report and map are among the 5 most important post 1850 works on the West. While the map appeared in the official account of Long's Expedition, it was also produced in large format with extra text in the first and subsequent editions of Carey & Lea's A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas, which preceded Carey & Lea's publication of the James map in 1823.
It was not uncommon for cartographic information to appear first in commercial atlases before publication of official reports, but this is one of the few instances where the map itself also appeared before the book. Wheat noted that the map represented a distinct step forward in the mapping of the West, the first to use the term Great American Desert. It corrected many errors, primarily the course of the Red River, and the corrections to the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. HS Tanner also spoke highly of the map in his 1823 Geographical Memoir.
Major Stephen H. Long was commissioned to ascend the Platte River and explore the headwaters of both the Red River and Arkansas River. The expedition followed the Platte River to the South Fork to the Colorado Rockies, where they discovered and named Long's Peak. On July 5, 1820, they reached present day Denver and on July 12, Colorado Springs, from which three party members, including Edwin James, set out to climb Pike's Peak.
The party continued south to the upper Arkansas River, where Long divided it into two groups. One group was instructed to continue the exploration of the Arkansas while the second group, which included both Long and James, went to explore the Red River. In early August the party followed the Canadian River, mistaking it for the Red. This mistake led the group into New Mexico and the Texas panhandle, where they suffered from a scarcity of food sources. The expedition also encountered a party of Kiowa-Apaches, the first recorded meeting between Anglo-Americans and Kiowa-Apaches. The group traveled through Oklahoma and finally reunited with the others at Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The expedition ended with neither of its main objectives met. Neither the source of Arkansas nor the Red River was found. The geographic details of the "Great American Desert" were hardly what an expansionist government wanted to hear about. The Long Expedition was the first scientific survey of the region and dramatically increased the country's geographical knowledge of the West.
Henry Charles Carey (1793-1879) was an American geography publisher and businessman. He was the son of Mathew Carey and carried on the family publishing company in partnership with his brother-in-law, Isaac Lea. Henry worked in his father’s business from a young age. At twelve, he managed a store selling his father’s publications. At fifteen, he was the firm’s financial manager. In 1817, he became a junior partner, which changed the company’s name to Carey & Son.
In 1822, Mathew Carey brought in a new junior partner, Isaac Lea, who had married Henry’s sister, Frances Anne. In the same year, Mathew Carey left the business, with Henry buying out his father’s share. His younger brother briefly joined the business, but left by 1829, when the firm was named Carey & Lea. William A. Blanchard joined the firm in 1833, causing another name change to Carey, Lea & Blanchard. Henry retired in 1835, leaving the firm as Lea & Blanchard.
Henry had outside interests, including political economy. He published Principles of Political Economy in 1837. He also wrote Past, Present, and Future (1848), Principles of Social Science (1858-1860), and The Unity of Law (1872). In the 1850s, he was very active in organizing the nascent Republican Party. He died in 1879.
Isaac Lea (1792-1886) was an American publisher and geologist. Raised a Quaker in Delaware, he turned away from pacifist teachings and joined the militia in the War of 1812. After marrying Frances Anne, the daughter of publishing magnate Mathew Carey, Lea became a junior partner of Carey & Son in 1822. Mathew Carey left the firm in the same year and Isaac Lea worked primarily with his brother-in-law, Henry Charles Carey.
The pair conducted business as Carey & Lea, during which time they published A Complete Historical, Chronological and Geographical Atlas from 1822 to 1827. This work included roughly twenty maps engraved by Fielding Lucas Jr., as well as an American edition of Starling’s Cabinet Atlas. However, the firm increasingly turned away from cartographic publications.
By 1829, after the brief participation of Edward Carey, Henry’s younger brother, the company became known as Carey & Lea. William A. Blanchard joined the firm in 1833, causing another name change to Carey, Lea & Blanchard. Henry retired in 1838, leaving the firm as Lea & Blanchard.
Isaac Lea was not just a publisher, but an avid researcher with aptitude for geology. He was a member of the American Academy of Natural Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He retired from publishing in 1851 and turned increasingly to geological research, results of which he published until his death in 1886.