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Map of Eastern Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas [Boston: J. P. Jewett and Co.], 1856. Lithographed [by L. H. Bradford & Co.] folding pocket map, Indian lands hand-coloured, three vignette views of buildings in Kansas. Folds into original green cloth covers, covers decoratively blocked in blind, upper cover titled in gilt, printed letter by Whitman and Searl on the inside front pastedown. Sheet size: 27 1/4 x 21 inches.

A Bleeding Kansas cartographic rarity: a map intended to promote Free Soil, anti-slavery activists to the region.

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 created those territories with the provision that the settlers in those states would decide whether slavery would be lawful. The border state of Kansas thus became a breeding ground for anti- and pro-slavery conflict. Pro-slavery Missourians, known as border ruffians, flooded into the eastern half of the state, specifically along the Missouri River where slave-based agriculture would be feasible. Anti-slavery forces rallied, sending settlers from the North, with most coming from New England. Free state settlements were created in Topeka (identified on the map as the "temporary state capital") and Lawrence (depicted here on the map as a red dot with a small American flag). On this map, both of those free soil strongholds are shown with encampments of "Shannon's Posse" nearby, dated December 1855 -- pro-slavery forces intended to intimidate the Topeka Constitutional Convention. The Kansas troubles are further depicted with the three vignette views, two showing the before and after images of the Eldrige House. Also known as the Free State Hotel, the house served as temporary quarters to incoming New Englanders. Border ruffians destroyed the building on May 21, 1856. It was in retaliation to this attack and others in Lawrence on that day that John Brown attacked pro-slavery settlers in what would become known as the Pottawatomie Massacre, igniting further violence in the region, and making Bleeding Kansas a major portent to the Civil War.

Interestingly, on the advertisement by Whitman and Searle on the inside front wrapper, no mention is made of the troubles, even though Whitman was a known abolitionist and Jewett, the publisher, was the publisher of "Uncle Tom's Cabin". The two land agents offer their services to immigrants, offering to find plots, supply information to interested parties, and complete surveys. The primary colored features on the map are Native American tribal lands, shown as separate and with defined boundaries meant to entice settlers to a region without Indian troubles. Forts shown on the map include Fort Riley (both on the larger map and as an unbordered inset at lower left), Fort Leavenworth, and Fort Scott (abandoned). Also shown are Fort Laramie Road, California Road, Oregon Road, and Santa Fe Road.

This map, however, is at its essence a cartographic representation of the slavery conflict and the events leading to the Civil War.

Phillips, A List of Maps of America , p. 346; Streeter sale 3903; Graff 4640; Heaston, Kansas Pocket Maps 4; Baughman, Kansas in Maps , pp. 52-53; Eberstadt 137:24; Jones, Adventures in Americana 1354; Rumsey 3069; Siebert sale 717.

Item #34898

Price: $4,750.00

See all items in North America, Pocket Maps