THE FIRST OFFICIAL MAP OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.
EDDY, W. M. & COLTON, J. H. Approved & Declared to be The Official Map of the State of California by an Act of the Legislature
. [New York, 1854.] 49 ¾ x 38 3/8 inches. Full original wash color; expertly re-mounted on new linen; some fairly dark staining in inset & outside of area of California; usual splitting and wear but paper superior for this type; overall very good.
The first official map of the state that fixed its basic boundaries as they are, for the most part, known today. After the boundaries for California were agreed upon in 1849 at the State Constitutional Convention, an official map was required to enshrine the borders of the new state. Thus, in April 4, 1850, the State Legislature passed an act requiring the state surveyor to produce an accurate map of the state. The map was completed and accepted in manuscript form in March of 1853. According to Heckrotte, Eddy was ordered to have the map engraved on copper and copies supplied to various state officials. Heckrotte does not mention a wider, commercial dissemination of the map, so possibly its distribution was limited to officials, thus explaining its great rarity today. Eddys map is large, in full color, and is splendid in appearance (Heckrotte). It advanced the mapping of California in significant ways beyond the setting of its boundaries. It was the first map to show the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas in its approximately correct location. Also Eddys was the first map of California to list its sources. Additionally, it contains a large and generally accurate inset map of San Francisco Bay.
Although Eddys map was the best of California to its date, it was not well received, particularly in light of it being the states official map. The aspect of the map most roundly criticized was the diagonal eastern border, which trends too much in an east-west direction, thus fattening the southern part of the state. These and several other errors resulted from the not uncommon situation of a mapmaker relying on flawed sources that he could not properly evaluate, or--in the case of this map-no sources at all. Heckrotte states that several county surveyors reported to Eddy that they did not have usable surveys of their counties. Also, in Eddys defense, his project to map the state was woefully under-funded. He presented a proposed budget of $12,850 but was granted only $3000. Thus, he accomplished very little in the way of original surveying. Perhaps the strongest defense of Eddys performance is the fact that California would not be accurately mapped until nearly a full 20 years after Eddys map appeared, in a work produced by the California Geological Survey in 1873.
Extremely rare. The last recorded example, at auction or in a dealer catalogue, was in 1982. Prior to this example, the last seen was the Streeter copy of the late 60s. Heckrotte, W. in Cohen, P. Mapping the West, 167-69; California 49, Map 34; Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region, 257.
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