Tanner’s 1847 Mexico, Texas and the Southwestern US


Henry S. Tanner. “A Map of the United States of Mexico,…Fourth edition, 1847.” Philadelphia: H.S. Tanner, 1847. Separately issued map on banknote paper for folding into original gold stamped cloth covers. 22 1/2 x 29. Engraving. Full original color. Minor repaired along several folds; very good condition. With inset maps, “Map of the Roads &c From Vera Cruz & Alvarado To Mexico,” and “Harbor of Vera Cruz,” as well as a statistical table. Wheat: 554.

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A large, historically significant, antique map of Mexico, Texas and what would soon become the southwestern part of the United States. The first edition of this map was issued by Tanner in 1825, based on his 1822 map of North America and the maps of Humboldt, Pike and others. It was the best commercial map of Mexico of the time and Tanner reissued it in six editions, and even more variants, between 1825 and 1850. The map had particular influence in the border it showed between Upper and Lower California and the southern border of New Mexico. The 1826 edition was the basis for an 1828 map by White, Gallaher & White, which in turn was used by John Disturnell for his map that was used to establish the 1847 border between Mexico and Texas.

That border was necessitated by the Texas revolution and its independence from Mexico in 1836, for after the United States annexed Texas in 1845, tensions between Mexico and the U.S. spilled over into the Mexican-American War. It was that war that spurred Tanner to issue an updated “second edition” of his map in 1846. Tanner received some criticism for that map because it didn’t include new information then available, such as Frémont’s mapping of the Southwest, so Tanner issued more, updated versions which were greatly improved. The updated maps focused on the area where the Mexican-American War was going on, and it would have been eagerly sought by those interested in the events of the war as the details of the seat of war were excellent. The depiction is very detailed for all of what was originally Mexico in 1825, though Texas, by 1846 part of the United States, is shown separately colored in a blue wash in order to indicate is separateness from Mexico. The detail of Upper California and New Mexico, soon to become part of the U.S., is also quite good. This fourth edition adds an inset of the Harbor of Vera Cruz and some improvements were made in the area of northern New Mexico. In sum, this is a primary map of the Mexican-American War and a landmark in the mapping of the American Southwest