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Exceptionally Rare Gold Rush Variant of Mitchell's Famed Map of Texas, Oregon, and California. With Mitchell's Guide to California.

Antique map of the American West by Samuel Augustus Mitchell. This is an example of the extremely rare 1849 edition, which was issued by Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. for the California Gold Rush.

Many changes have been made to the geography reflecting the Mexican-American War, the settling of the border with Canada, Fremont's expedition through the Great Basin, Mormon settlement at Salt Lake City, and the California Gold Rush.

An important, attractive rarity.

Cartographic Updates from the Previous Edition:

  • "GOLD REGION" labeled and colored.
  • "New Helvetia" renamed "Sutters Fort | (New Helvetia)"
  • "American Fork" labeled.
  • Comprehensive updates to the topography and hydrography of the Sacramento Valley.
  • Updates to the U.S.-Mexico border between Texas and the Pacific.
  • Texas' northwest border moved east of Spanish Peaks (with publisher's hand-coloring).
  • "Salt Lake City (Mormon Set.)" added.
  • Fremont's groundbreaking mapping of the Great Basin added where previously there were notes on the unexplored nature of the region.
  • Two inset maps added to the lower left corner: "Map of the Maritime and Overland Routes to California" and "Map of the Gold and Quicksilver District of California".
  • Where the U.S.-Canada border had been labeled "Boundary of 49° proposed by the U.S." it now reads "Boundary of 1846".


Description of Oregon and California, Embracing An Account of the Gold Regions... Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co.: 1849

12mo. Publisher's gilt-lettered roan ("MITCHELL'S | GUIDE | TO | CALIFORNIA"). 76 pages (complete).

A rare California Gold Rush text, with extensive treatment of the natural history, geography, etc. of California. The text reprints many of the famous letters from the beginning of the Gold Rush, as well as information from Fremont, and an Appendix describing "various kinds of Gold, and methods of testing its genuineness."


Very rare in this edition, this being the first time we have had it. We note an example sold by Dorothy Sloan for $9,000 in 2006. Bonhams later sold an example of the Description with another 1849 variant lacking the inset at lower left ($11,250 in 2015).  For every example of this edition to appear on the market, there have probably been at least 10 copies of the first edition.

Other editions were published in 1846, 1851, and 1852, as pocket maps and as insets to the large Reference and Distance Map of the United States.

Condition Description
Excellent example. Original hand-color in full. Pamphlet internally complete, with small ink stain to preliminary leaves and lacking the back cover.
Rumsey 10131; Howes M685; Wheat 520; Wheat Gold 29; Streeter 2511; WC 122b; Graff 2841.