Map of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, Showing the southern portion of Dakota


The Gateway to the West at the beginning of the Civil War.

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This attractive steel-engraved map of the new state of Kansas, the Nebraska Territory, and the Colorado Territory was published in Philadelphia in 1861 by Samuel Augustus Mitchell. Mitchell was one of the most prominent American mapmakers of the 19th century and initially got involved with cartography as a school teacher who was frustrated with the quality of available maps. He collaborated with skilled engravers and produced high-quality maps and atlases that contained the most up-to-date information available. Mitchell’s son (of the same name) would take over the business after his death in 1860 and continue the tremendous output.

His attention to detail is evident within the image, which provides an informative snapshot of the vast region situated between the Mississippi River and the Continental Divide around the outbreak of the Civil War. Outlined states and territories are further subdivided into surveyed townships, districts, and Native American reservations using original hand color.

A fascinating variety of place names, geographic features, and other locations of interest are labeled throughout the image. Several, such as Independence Rock and Ft. Laramie, played a critical role in the development of the West as waypoints along the Oregon Trail. The Santa Fe Trail and Macomb’s San Juan Exploring Expedition are also noted. The planned route of the Transcontinental Railroad runs nearby, along the Platte River. An area around Denver is temptingly labeled Gold Region. Frontier fortifications and numerous Native American tribes are also named, reflecting the ongoing tension over the sovereignty of the region.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1861

Author: Samuel Augustus Mitchell

Sheet Width (in): 15.25

Sheet Height (in): 12.5

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Trimmed upper margin and light scattered toning visible in the margins, including some faint damp staining in the lower right. A few tiny scattered spots within the image, most evident in south-central Kansas. Very good overall.


1 in stock