Texana Foundation Donates Five Rare Maps to Texas General Land Office Archives and Records
Significant support for the Save Texas History project
— AUSTIN - Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and the founder of the Texana Foundation, Jefferson Morgenthaler, are proud to announce the donation of five historic maps to the Texas General Land Office Archives. This represents the largest single donation of historic maps to the archives.
"These maps donated by Mr. Morgenthaler through the Texana Foundation will be viewed by our children and our grandchildren, thanks to their generosity today,” Commissioner Bush said. “These maps augment our collection of 45,000 maps and sketches and enhance the GLO Archives − one of the premier cartographic collections in Texas and the Southwest. This generous donation is a great example of how Texans can help support our Save Texas History efforts.”
Morgenthaler approached the Texas General Land Office earlier this year, inquiring how he and the Texana Foundation could help the agency's Save Texas History program. Deciding that acquiring a selection of significant historic maps for the General Land Office was the best way that he could show his support, Morgenthaler proceeded to research available Texas maps, with guidance from the archives staff at the General Land Office.
“It is rewarding to acquire valuable historic items and ensure that these treasures will be safely preserved and made accessible for future generations through the Archives of the Texas General Land Office," Morgenthaler said. “Over the last decade, I have sought partners to share my passion for Texas history. It has been a complete pleasure to work with the Texas General Land Office, which has been both professional and tremendously enthusiastic.”
The donated maps are:
- Alexander von Humboldt’s 1804 masterpiece, Carte General Du Royaume De La Nouvelle Espagne…, one of the most influential maps of Mexico, Texas, and the Southwest. This large atlas map was the standard view of the region for almost 30 years and has been called one of the six most important maps of Texas. This is the only map in the GLO collection from the year 1804.
- Aaron Arrowsmith’s Mexico (including Louisiana Territory, Texas, Upper California) (1817), a small atlas map, which identifies Spanish Texas as part of the Spanish intendancy of San Luis Potosi. The northern part of present-day Texas appears to be part of Louisiana. This is the only map in the GLO collection from the year 1817.
- Carl Flemming’s Texas (1844), a highly detailed atlas map of the Republic, showing Texas at its largest formation, stretching to present-day Wyoming, and showing 30 early counties. This map was one of the few published maps of the Republic of Texas to appear in a commercial atlas. This map was also printed in Germany and helped shape the way many Germans of the time viewed the region. It was also one of the earliest maps of Texas to benefit from the use of the records of the newly formed Texas General Land Office.
- Victor Levasseur’s Amerique Septentrionale (circa 1845), a decorative atlas map of North America that shows Russian control of Alaska, an unusually small configuration for the Republic of Texas, and an expanded Oregon territory before the 1846 treaty with Great Britain. The most compelling feature of this map is the allegorical border, which features North American flora and fauna, and a scene of Europeans bargaining for indigenous products.
- John Tallis’s Mexico, California and Texas (1851), a small, decorative, beautifully hand-colored atlas map, drawn at the height of the California Gold Rush. It features pre-Mexican War boundaries, and includes the gold fields of Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley, as well as Texas at its largest configuration. The three vignettes include two scenes of Mexico and one of miners panning for gold.
The Texana Foundation encourages interest and excellence in preserving and writing Texas history. The foundation’s projects include writers' workshops and conferences, Texana e-book development, public library collection development, and underwriting and producing historical displays. Morgenthaler is the author of several nonfiction books about the history of Texas, including the award-winning The River Has Never Divided Us and the landmark Promised Land: Solms, Castro, and Sam Houston’s Colonization Contracts. His recent study of the historic Pinta Trail, based largely on the maps and surveys of the GLO, prompted his interest in the GLO’s map collection.
Save Texas History, a project of the Texas General Land Office, is dedicated to preserving and promoting the historic documents and maps of the General Land Office Archives, serving as a teaching resource for Texas history education, and serving as a resource for digitizing Texas history. No general revenue from the Legislature is appropriated for this purpose. The conservation and promotion of these Texas treasures depends solely on private donations, map purchases and corporate sponsorships. All donations made to the GLO, either financial contributions for conservation or donations of items such as archival maps, are tax deductible pursuant to Internal Revenue Code §170(c)(1).
The five donated maps can be viewed online, as well as the 45,000 other maps, sketches and drawings of the Texas General Land Office, at www.SaveTexasHistory.org.
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