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Broadside Map Promoting A Transcontinental Railroad in 1847

Rare separately published broadside map of the United States, issued in the midst of the Mexican War.

The map provides a "Panoramic View of the contemplated Oregon Railroad.  Its benefit to this Nation would be incalcuable."

The map shows Oregon Territory shortly after the resolution of the 1846 Oregon Treaty resolved the boundary dispute between the US and Great Britain, which settled the boundary between Oregon and the soon to be formed province of British Columbia.  Here, both the final border and the boundary formerly claimed by the United States is shown, with the map  colored to show the correct border, but the name Oregon still extending north of the border. 

The Oregon Trail is shown in red, then the primary route taken by Americans from the Mississippi to the west, prior to the California Gold Rush.  In New California,  the "Route to the United States" extends from San Francisco Bay and the Rio San Joaquin to Lake Youta or Benneville, before joining the Oregon Trail to the north.

A massive pre-Statehood Texas is shown, with the Route of the Santa Fe Traders traversing from the Arkansas river to Santa Fe.  A note that "the Texians claim as their Boundary the Rio del Norte from its moth to its source.  Mexico recognizes their claims only as far as the Nueces."

The large vignette illustrates the Oregon Steamboat, with Brother Jonathan exhibiting to the crown heads of Europe the progress of America.

The map also provides a note promoting the Oregon Railroad, an early discussion of the prospect for a Transcontinental Railroad (which could be done "at the moderate rate of sixteen miles to the hour ...eight days" to cross the country.).  The estimated cost to build the road was $71,250,000, "the completion of which will render every nation on the globe our commercial tributaries."  A further discussion of adding the magnetic telegraph to the route is included (only 3 years after the first Morse Code message was sent in 1844).

Comparing The Map

The map would seem to be a  variant of the Haven & Emerson Map of 1846.  That map was offered with just the medallions around it  and with a broadside which also promotes "The Great Oregon Railroad".  The map the same, but the text above and below and graphics are completely different.  

While the map appears similar to the Ornamental Map of the United States published by Phelps, the map is different and there is no mention of the Oregon Railroad, although the 1848 edition of the Ornamental map by Ensign & Thayer does reference the line.


The map is extremely rare.  OCLC locates copies at Yale, Arizona Historical Society and the Huntington Library.

We note a single example at auction in the past 100 years (Anderson Galleries, 1923) and no dealer catalog entries.

Condition Description
Long tear at top center and smaller tear at lower center, expertly repaired on verso, but still visible. Some staining throughout.