— Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2013 —
Stephen F. Austin’s Cornerstone Map of Texas
The 1836 Issue, Locating for the first time “Fort Alamo” and the Battle of San Jacinto
240. [MAP]. AUSTIN, Stephen F[uller]. Map of Texas with Parts of the Adjoining States Compiled by Stephen F. Austin Published by H.S. Tanner Philadelphia Note. The Latitude and Longitude of Saltillo Monterey Laredo Bexar Nacogdoches and the Point where the boundary line leaves the Sabine are from the observations of General Teran of the Mexican Army. 1836. Scale of Miles...Engraved by John & Wm. M. Warr Phila. [above title at lower right, coat of arms of Mexico (eagle perched atop a prickly pear cactus and devouring a snake; above the eagle floats a Liberty Cap; each of the cactus pads is engraved with the name of a Mexican state; Texas is still shown on a pad as Coahuila y Tejas, as are New Mexico and Alta California)]; [inset text at lower left discussing topography of the land in Northern Mexico; some requirements upon land contractors; table setting forth the number of families in each of the Texas grants; and explanation of the term league] Note. The country South West and West of Monclova is very mountainous and generally destitute of Timber... By the terms on which land is acquired in Texas... Grant to Col. Austin 1100 [families]... The colonization Laws of Mexico grant to the family of each actual settler, one square league...; [below neat line at lower left] Engraved according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by H.S. Tanner in the Clerk’s Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 1836. Copper-engraved map on bank note paper, original color, Texas divided into grants, each of which has full color, boundaries outlined in orange, borders with pink wash; neat line to neat line: 74.9 x 59.2 cm; overall sheet size: 76.1 x 59.8 cm. Original pocket covers present (15.5 x 9.4 cm), original purple cloth embossed with floral design, original blue paper label with Greek key border, printed: Map of Texas By General Austin. Map backed with archival tissue which is float-mounted on archival board. A few small voids where formerly folded with repair at upper right corner (consolidated by backing), a bit of minor soiling and offsetting, pocket covers slightly faded at edges. A very good copy with excellent, strong color and the elusive pocket covers present. The 1836 edition of Austin’s map is very rare. We find no copies in the auction records going back to 1975. We sold the Morrow-Josey by private treaty in 1987.
This is the 1836 issue of Austin’s map (first printed in 1830). This issue is the first to show the battle of the Alamo (Fort Alamo) and the Battle of San Jacinto. The latter is located at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and San Jacinto River near Lynchburg, and it is marked with a flag and text: Battle 21 April 1836. Austin’s map was epochal in many ways. It was the first large scale map of Texas with any semblance of accuracy. Taliaferro remarks (in Cohen, see below): “No part of the West had been previously mapped on such a large scale and in such detail. It was the first significant map to show the results of the Anglo-American immigration to Texas, and it was the work of the man who was responsible for that immigration—the Father of Modern Texas.”
Austin’s remarkable 1830 map of Texas had a relatively long life, with issues following in 1833, 1834, 1835, 1836, 1837, 1839, and 1840 (even later issues exist, such as 1845 and 1846). Austin’s map remained the standard and was used by others who published maps of Texas in that pivotal era. As late as 1844, Emory (see herein) cited Austin’s map as a primary source for his map published by the United States government officially recognizing the boundaries of the Republic of Texas. Austin intended his map to aid and assist Texas immigration, and—first issue to last—it was indeed a powerful magnet in attracting emigrants to Texas. Given the long range effects of Texas colonization on U.S. westward expansion and the eventual acquisition of the Southwest, Austin’s maps are primary documents in the field of Western Americana.
Austin chose well in his selection of Henry Schenck Tanner’s prominent cartographic firm to engrave and distribute his map of Texas. Tanner (1786-1858), engraver and publisher, is “thought to be the first native-born American to devote his life to publishing” (Tooley). He and his brother Benjamin were partners in the firm of Tanner, Vallance, Kearny & Company until Henry went on his own to publish The New American Atlas (1819). “He established his well-known publishing company in Philadelphia and was the first person in the United States to publish a map of Texas, using Stephen F. Austin’s 1829 [manuscript] map. His map was published in 1830 and went through eight editions. Tanner is best known for his New American Atlas, published in five parts from 1818 to 1823, with a last edition published in 1839. He died in New York in 1858” (Handbook of Texas Online: Henry Schenck Tanner). In addition to the faithful transfer from Austin’s manuscript to handsome copper-engraved image, Tanner’s firm created an exceedingly beautiful, finely executed map. The only complaint that might be leveled at Tanner is that he would not allow Stephen F. Austin to make the map available to Austin’s cousin, Mary Austin Holley for her wonderful book Texas: Observations, Historical, Geographical and Descriptive, which was intended to promote immigration to Texas. Stephen and Mary regrouped and used a map, based on Austin’s work, engraved by William Hooker in place of the large Tanner map.
All issues of Austin’s maps possess intrinsic worth and desirability, and all are very rare and difficult to find in collector’s condition. Surely the two most desirable issues are the first (1830) and the present 1836 edition, which documents and is contemporary with the events of 1836, which changed Texas and the West forever. Streeter in the introduction to Part 3 of his bibliography of Texas ranks Austin’s map as one of the top forty imprints for a Texas collection (p. 327). Mr. Streeter continues with a discussion of high spots of Texana by selecting the six most important maps of Texas. Of course, the Austin map is one those six. He designates his 1830 edition “as the map of Texas I most prize...by the founder of present-day Texas, showing on a large scale, and for the first time, the result of American emigration to Texas” (p. 329).
For more on Austin and his map, see: Bryan & Hanak, Texas in Maps, pp. 10-12 (discussion of evolution of the printed map); Plate 21 (1830 issue). Castañeda & Martin, Three Manuscript Maps of Texas by Stephen F. Austin (Austin: Privately printed, 1930). Contours of Discovery, p. 24: “When Stephen F. Austin undertook his colonial venture in 1821, the new era opened not only in the cultural and diplomatic history of Texas, but in its cartographic history as well.... [Austin’s map] stands as a watershed in the history of the state.” Amon Carter Museum Exhibit, Crossroads of Empire (June 12-July 26, 1981) 31. Day, Maps of Texas, p. 18 (1833 issue, photostat); p. 20 (1835 issue, reproduction); p. 12 (1836 issue, photograph); p. 25 (1837 issue, photostat); p. 32 (1840 issue). Eberstadt, Texas 162:43 (1840 issue). Fifty Texas Rarities 10 (1830 issue). Graff 117 (1830 issue). Hayes, Historical Atlas of the American West, pp. 80-83: Map 151 (1830 issue). Howes A404 (1830, 1836 & 1837 issues). McCorkle & Miles, America Emergent 42n (citing one of Austin’s ca. 1827 manuscript maps): “Although Anglo-Americans began arriving in Texas in 1821, the first important map of their settlements was not published until 1830.” Mapoteca Colombiana, p. 28, #39 (1839 issue). Martin, “Maps of an Empresario” (Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. 84, No. 4, April, 1982, pp. 371-400). Martin & Martin, pp. 32 & 52 (Color Plate VII); pp. 120-121 & Plate 29 (1830 issue). Raines, p. 250 (1835 issue). Schwartz & Ehrenberg, Color Plate 154 & p. 253 (1830 issue).
Streeter 1115D: “The 1836 Austin map shows the grants as before with some place names added, the most important being Galveston and Velasco.” TCU, Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps, p. 34, Color Plate 21 (illustrating 1840 issue). Virga, Texas: Mapping the Lone Star State through History, p. 26n (color illustration of the 1837 issue).
Henry Taliaferro in Paul E. Cohen’s, Mapping the West (pp. 110-113, color illustration on p. 111) citing the 1830 issue and elaborating on the importance of Austin’s map of Texas:
Jack Jackson provides a penetrating overview of Austin’s map in Shooting the Sun, Vol. II, pp. 452-459 (1840 issue illustrated on p. 454):
For direct insight into Austin and the details of publication his map, here are a few extracts from the Austin Papers that connect the man Austin with his momentous map:
Thomas F. Leaming, Austin’s kinsman in Philadelphia, to Austin, May 8, 1828, Austin Papers, 2:2, p. 37:
Stephen F. Austin to Henry Austin, August 27, 1829, Austin Papers 2:2, p. 251:
Stephen F. Austin to Thomas F. Leaming, June 14, 1830, Austin Papers 2:2, pp. 413-417:
Stephen F. Austin to Ramón Músquiz and Lorenzo de Zavala, July 23, 1829, Austin Papers, 2:2, pp. 236-238 (translation):
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