Map of the United States from the Latest Authorities. New York: T. & E.H. Ensign, 1846.
Large wall map (46 x 37 inches). Hand-coloring and original shellac. Top molding rail and turned scroll (some losses to surface, some nails have torn through).
An extremely scarce manifest-destiny era wall map of the United States with an inset of the newly admitted Texas. A scarce 1846 wall map of the United States by Horace Thayer and Edward Ensign. This remarkable map covers the United Stated from Texas and the Upper Mississippi Valley eastward to the Atlantic and from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico. Insets detail Oregon Territory and the newly admitted states of Florida and Texas. The map is surrounded by a decorative acanthus border framing miniature cartouches offering population and other details relative to each admitted state. The map is copyrighted to 1845, though we have not been able to identify any examples from that year. The date under the title cartouche is 1846, suggesting this to be the second edition, updated to reflect the December 1845 admittance of Texas and Florida into the Union.
The Texas inset in the lower left corner is notable for both its size and detail. The map presents Texas in an exceptionally ephemeral form reflecting the early Republic of Texas political geography. Here Texas extends westward off the map to include most of modern day New Mexico. Though not presented here, Texas at this time would also have included a long northern panhandle extending well into modern day Wyoming. The map offers an excellent county breakdown in eastern Texas with Austin, Galveston, San Antonio, and Houston, as well as a number of other early Texas cities, identified. The map sites the population of Texas around this time at a slight 140,000. The choice to not include the northern and western portions of Texas is suggestive of the Thomas Benton border reconfiguration plan which, though not adopted, would be formally presented to congress in 1850.
Edward Hooker Ensign (1818 - 1871) was an American map and print publisher based in New York during the middle part of the 19th century. Edward was born in West Hartland, Connecticut. Little is known of Ensign's training but he may have inherited his business from his father, Timothy Ensign, who was a map publisher active in New York. Ensign seems to have had a flair for partnerships and variously published with Humphrey Phelps, Horace Thayer, Thomas Fanning and Erastus Bridgeman, among others. His various imprints include 'Phelps and Ensign' (1841-1844), 'T. and E. H. Ensign' (1844-1848), 'Ensign and Thayer' (1849), 'Ensign, Thayer, and Company' (1850-1851), 'Horace Thayer and Company' (1852), and 'Ensign, Bridgman and Fanning' (1854-1863). At least some of these companies maintained offices in both Buffalo and New York City. Horace Thayer (1811 - c. 1874) was a New York based publisher and lithographer active in New York City and Buffalo, New York, during the middle part of the 19th century. Thayer's publications focused on travel guides, wall, and pocket maps - many of which were based on the works of other American cartographers including J. H. Colton and S. A. Mitchell. According to map historian Walter Ristow, J. H. Colton's older son, George Washington Colton, partnered with Thayer in the late 1850s and early 1860s, possibly in order to learn Thayer's lithography techniques. Certainly a number maps emerged bearing a "Thayer and Colton" imprint. At various points Thayer also published with other prominent publishers and printmakers, publishing as Kelloggs and Thayer (1846-1847), Ensigns and Thayer (1848), Ensign and Thayer (1849-1850), and Ensign, Thayer, and Company (1850-1851), Phelps and Watson (1859), and Thayer and Colton (1859-186?). Thayer seems to have moved frequently and had offices at 50 Ann Street, 156 William Street, and at 18 Beekman Street, all in New York City. For more information on this map, or a warm welcome to see other books and maps of our collection at 72nd Street NYC, please contact Natalie Zadrozna.