[TEXAS]. JOHNSTON, Joseph E. – Lieut., W.F. SMITH – Lieut., F.T. BRYAN – Lieut., N.H. MICHLER – Capt., S. G. FRENCH. Reports of the Secretary of War, with Reconnaissances of Routes from San Antonio to El Paso... the Report of Capt., R.B. Marcy’s Route from Fort Smith to Santa Fe; and the Report of Lieut. J. H. Simpson of an Expedition into the Navajo Country... Washington: Union Office, 1850.
8vo., (9 x 5 5/8 inches). 2 large folding lithographed maps with routes hand-coloured in outline (tears strengthened on verso), 72 lithographed plates, including 2 with hand-colour, 27 with printed or tinted colour, and 3 folding (some browning, folding maps strengthened on verso at the folds). Original brown cloth (rebacked).
Provenance: from the library of the Geographical Society of London, with their ink library stamp on the verso of each map and plate, presented to them by the Smithsonian Institution, and with their bookplate recording the bequest on the verso of the title-page; from the important cartographical library of Warren Heckrotte, part II, his sale, Rare Cartography, Exploration and Voyages, 3rd December, 2015, lot 39
“Led to the opening of West Texas to travel and settlement.... These routes remained for years the main lines of communication for soldier, settler, and gold seeker alike” (Jenkins)
The two large important maps are: “Reconnaissances of Routes from San Antonio de Bexar to El Paso del Norte...” (probably the first map to show the location of Fort Worth), and the “Map of the Route Pursued in 1849 by the U.S. Troops under the Command of Bvt. Lieut. Col. Jno. M. Washington, Governor of New Mexico, in an Expedition against the Navajos Indians...”. They illustrate the tracks of the expeditions that opened up West Texas to American settlement.
The plates by Edward and Richard Kern are some of the earliest in colour to accompany a government report and relate to the report of James H. Simpson, the first European to describe Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Pueblo Bonito, Inscription Rock, and to depict the Zuñi and Pueblo peoples. Dorothy Sloan reports that Goetzmann refers to Simpson as the “first American to make an accurate eyewitness survey of the region west of the Rio Grande past the Puerco and to penetrate the northern canyons” and states that “no work on these pueblos is complete without references to Simpson’s researches” (p. 244). Jenkins, Basic Texas Books 111; Field 1413n; Garrett, Mexican-American War, pp. 298-99; Graff 2228 (see also 3789); Howes J170 (see also S498); Wheat, Transmississippi West 641 & III, pp. 16-17; 677 & III, pp. 22-23 & 223. Catalogued by Kate Hunter