The Mines of Colorado


Rare first edition of Hollister’s guide to the wealth of the Colorado Territory.

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The completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 completely changed the economic trajectory of the United States. East and West would be permanently and immutably linked, allowing for the easier, faster, and cheaper transfer of people, resources, and ideas.

The Colorado Territory was particularly poised to benefit from the railroad, as the preface in Ovando J. Hollister’s The Mines of Colorado outlines. “The approaching completion of two lines of railway between the Mississippi Valley and the Rocky Mountains, will mark an era in the history of the nearer of the mining Territories – Colorado…This cannot fail to arrest the attention of capitalists who are interested in Colorado gold and silver stocks, or who are thinking of becoming so…it will make accessible to them a new and large tract of virgin land, which, though far West, is still on the world’s great highway, and therefore in no sense of the words in the backwoods.”

After migrating to Colorado in 1860, Hollister joined a cavalry company during the Civil War and received a number of wounds that ultimately led to his discharge. After the war, he remained in the territory and worked as a newspaper and journal editor until 1868, when he moved to the Utah Territory and remained there until his death in 1892.

While in Colorado, Hollister wrote this extensive promotional volume encouraging immigration to the territory. Its 450 pages are broken into 18 different chapters that explore the history, geography, climate, and culture. Prospecting strategies, routes to accessible gold fields, geological data and information  on related legislation are just a few of the areas in which mining is emphasized. The book also has over two dozen pages of contemporary advertisements, promoting a variety of business ranging from hardware stores to financial agents.

A large fold out map of the Colorado Territory is also included, affixed opposite the title page. It was designed in New York by the Major & Knapp Engraving, Manufacturing & Lithographic Company. The image presents the handful of surveyed sections across large county configurations and Indian reservations. The routes of various completed and proposed railroads, including the Union Pacific, are boldly outlined. The region’s rugged topography is depicted in hachure, and the locations of coal fields and gold & silver mines are identified according to the accompanying legend.

At the time of publication, much of Colorado’s easily accessible placer gold has already been mined. The Pike’s Peak Gold Rush had hit nearly a decade prior, and much of the remaining mineral wealth required more advanced extraction techniques. The year after this volume was issued, the territory’s first successful ore smelter was installed, ushering in another wave of enthusiasm for Colorado’s precious metals.



Map Details

Publication Date: 1867

Author: Ovando J. Hollister

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: A-

Condition Description: 450 pp. with 16 pp. of contemporary woodcut advertisements bound in original brown boards. Spine worn and separated at the top, but otherwise the covers are largely in good shape. Contents are clean and tight, a bit of scattered spotting and toning around the edges consistent with age. Old bookplate on the back cover. Includes accompanying fold out map of the Colorado Territory measuring approximately 21.5" x 16.8" in very good condition. A bit of soiling from old adhesive in the center right. Includes old library bookplates and a card holder affixed to the back endpapers.


1 in stock