PALMER, William Jackson (1836-1909). De la Colonisation du Colorado et du Nouveau-Mexique. Paris: Typographie Lahure, 1874.

$ 9,000.00

8vo., (10 7/8 x 7 inches). Half-title (one or two short marginal tears). Fine folding lithographed “Vue de Colorado Springs” (new marginal fold, very slightly toned). Original green printed paper wrappers as issued, partially unopened (slight pale staining, some new folds, edges slightly frayed).

Provenance: From the important cartographical library of Warren Heckrotte, his sale, Rare Cartography, Exploration and Voyages, Part II, December 3, 2015, Lot 54.

First edition. VERY SCARCE promotional work aimed at attracting French capitalists to the region, with emphasis on the railroads. The work is perhaps most notable for the fine bird’s-eye view of Colorado Springs, which is essentially a reduced version of Eli S. Glover-Strobridge & Co. Lith.’s view, published the same year in Cincinnati. The Glover-Strobridge view is the FIRST published bird’s-eye view of Colorado Springs. In the present French version some details have been omitted, including street and road names, church denominations, and the titles of the vignettes.

General William Jackson Palmer (1836-1910) was a distinguished Union cavalry officer and railroad executive. After the war, he served as an official of the Union Pacific Railroad’s Eastern Division, which, became the Kansas City Pacific and later merged into the Union Pacific. In 1870, he became president of the Denver and Rio Grande and completed its line westward by 1883. Palmer came to the Colorado Territory as a surveyor with the Kansas Pacific Railway in search of possible railroad routes and founded the new city of Colorado Springs in 1871, along with several other communities in the surrounding area. In 1874, Palmer provided land and funding to found Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and within two years, the town had 1,500 residents, schools, churches, banks, and a newspaper (the Colorado Springs Gazette, which he also founded). Palmer donated land to establish the first city park, Acacia, as well as several additional parks. He donated a total of 1,270 acres of land, some of which was used for scenic drives, tree-lined roadways and foot and bridle paths. Palmer also provided the funding for a school for the deaf, a tuberculosis sanatorium, and libraries.

Warren Heckrotte comments on both the work and his acquisition of it: “In the introduction, it is stated that one Mr. Amy requested General Palmer to prepare this work for the benefit of French capitalists. Palmer submitted the manuscript on Feb. 15, 1874. He puts forward a positive view on the future development of this region. The role of railroads is emphasized. A comparison is made with California. This appears to be a rare work and is not in any of the standard bibliographies. Bought from Maggs and they bought it at Sotheby’s in one of the sequence of sales of the collection of Sir Lester Hamsworth just after WW II. It had been sitting on their basement shelves all those years until I came across it.” Reps, Cities of the American West p. 588; Cities on Stone p. 92 and pl. 22; Views and Viewmakers of Urban America 474, fig. 17.22 (Glover-Strobridge version). There are seven copies of the work with 1874 date, listed in WorldCat, plus one dated 1875.