One of the most important of the great early maps of San Francisco, and one of the first maps of the city published locally. Very rare, and this example unusual for being printed on linen.
Unlike some other important early maps of San Francisco, this map was wholly a product of the city itself. The map was based on the work of County Surveyor William Eddy, who was responsible for virtually all of the late-1840s and early-1850s mapping of the city, lithographed by local printer Alexander Zakreski, and sold by stationers Cooke & Le Count at Montgomery Street. Gold Rush-era maps of San Francisco that were produced in San Francisco are quite rare, and this is one of the first, preceded only by Eddy’s Official Map of the City of San Francisco, published by B.F. Butler’s Lithography a year earlier.
An undulating line delineates the original high-water mark of San Francisco Bay, beyond which are shown extensions of the city by landfill (Areas of fill projected but not yet completed are shaded; those completed are unshaded.) Several wharves are shown jutting into the Bay—some seemingly completed, a couple marked “in construction” and “projected”–with dozens of soundings given, including quite a few superimposed on areas of landfill. Letters, numbers and symbols identify public buildings, places of worship, and theatres, while inset vignettes of the new City Hall and B. Davidson’s Banking House add both documentary and decorative value to the image.
The map captures San Francisco at a pivotal moment, when Gold Rush-fueled immigration was swelling its population—from less than 1000 in 1849 to over 25,000 a year later!–and putting tremendous strain on its infrastructure. The massive influx of people and commerce caused a building boom and a search for viable new land. San Franciscans were quite creative in their efforts to expand the city, and much building was done on the city’s tidal flats adjacent to the burgeoning downtown. This process included the extension of wharves, plank streets, and the intentional beaching of ships to be turned into commercial buildings.
Variants and census
Offered here is what appears to be the second of three variants of the map. The first also appeared in 1852 but bears the simpler title Complete Map of San Francisco and lacks the vignettes at upper left and right, though it appears otherwise identical (see illustration at Streeter #2708). The third bears an 1853 date, though I have been unable to locate an image for comparative purposes.
The TOPOGRAPHICAL & complete Map of SAN FRANCISCO is of the utmost rarity. As of October 2018 OCLC lists only two institutional holdings of the first 1852 variant (California Historical Society and Yale); two of the second 1852 variant offered here, one or both printed on “cloth” (California Historical Society and Yale); and two dated 1853 (California Historical Society and University of California-Berkeley). We know of but one other example having appeared on the market since the 1968 Streeter sale: an 1852 second variant printed on paper but otherwise identical to ours, which was sold by PBA Galleries in 2015 and now in the David Rumsey Map Collection (#12216).
This map would be adapted and expanded by Zakreski and Britton & Rey in in the following years, perhaps most notably in Zakreski’s The Only Correct & Fully Complete Map of San Francisco, published by Britton & Rey in 1853 and again, much expanded, in 1854.
An unusual variant printed on linen of an essential map for collectors seeking to document the historical development of San Francisco.
OCLC #701738434 (one or both on cloth). Rumsey #12216 (on paper). Streeter Collection, #2708 (1852 variant with Complete Map title) and #2737 (1853 variant).
Owned in partnership with Barry Ruderman Antique Maps.