Map Made for the "coming Empire".
Hand-colored lithographed map of the South Dakota Black Hills, focusing on railroad connections into the region, the major towns of Deadwood, Rapid City, and Hayward, and its counties of Lawrence, Pennington, and Custer.
The map was issued in Henry N. Maguire The Coming Empire, A Complete and Reliable Treatise on the Black Hills, Yellowstone and Big Horn Regions... (Sioux City, Iowa: Watkins & Smead, 1878). That work is quite rare, not having appeared at auction since the 1968 Streeter Sale, where is made a lofty $300. The Streeter Catalog addresses the map thusly: "The excellent map of the Black Hills as of 1878 is described by Maguire as “the only complete one of the Black Hills before the public.'"
The U.P.R.R., B.H.R.R., and Dakota Southern R.R. are shown.
The map was published just after the height of the Black Hills Gold Rush, which began in 1874 and reached its peak in '76-'77.
George F. Cram (1842-1928), or George Franklin Cram, was an American mapmaker and businessman. During the Civil War, Cram served under General William Tecumseh Sherman and participated in his March to the Sea. His letters of that time are now important sources for historians of the Civil War. In 1867, Cram and his uncle, Rufus Blanchard, began the company known by their names in Evanston, Illinois.
Two years later, Cram became sole proprietor and the company was henceforth known as George F. Cram Co. Specializing in atlases, Cram was one of the first American companies to publish a world atlas. One of their most famous products was the Unrivaled Atlas of the World, in print from the 1880s to the 1950s.
Cram died in 1928, seven years after he had merged the business with that of a customer, E.A. Peterson. The new company still bore Cram’s name. Four years later, the Cram Company began to make globes, a branch of the business that would continue until 2012, when the company ceased to operate. For the final several decades of the company’s existence it was controlled by the Douthit family, who sold it just before the company was shuttered.