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A Truly Unique Map

Johnstone's rare decorative promotional map of California, published as a promotional item for prospective immigrants.

Johnstone's remarkable map promoted the idea that California was a place of great natural beauty and with rich agricultural soil. Each county in the state is listed, with its acreage, and with the main agricultural products and extractive industries that happened in the county. Oranges, lumber, figs, almonds, honey, cereals, quicksilver and semi tropical fruits were some of the things listed. The images that decorate the map, and the text that was included which claimed California had "the grandest scenery in North America" and that the air was "dry, pure, and invigorating" promoted tourism to the state.

This is a remarkable map with twenty vignettes of California scenes and three inset maps showing soil, temperature, and areas. Another inset shows the heights of the Sierra Nevada mountains. All these elements combine to make a beautiful map. Little is know about the maker, Johnstone, except that he drew the Climatic Map of California as well.

There are two recorded editions of the map and a third unrecorded, all lacking a copyright date. One edition bears a legend to the left of the title that it was "published under the auspices of the the Southern Pacific Railroad and the State Board of Trade of California." The other recorded edition lacks this legend. We note an unrecorded third variant edition, promoting "Kohler & Van Bergen, San Francisco and New York, California Wine and Brandies." 


The map is of the utmost rarity. OCLC lists 2 copies of the "Southern Pacific Company" edition of the map (New York Public Library, UW Milwaukee) and 3 copies of the "unattributed" edition (Bancroft, Penn State, Library of Congress). Rumsey also holds a copy of the "unattributed" edition.

Condition Description
Five-stone color lithograph on a single sheet of wove paper. The whole backed with archival tissue, filling a series of edge tears and losses, most not touching or barely touching the image. A few mended cracks in the image, namely one across the breadth of the bottom third.