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St Marks to Galveston: Blunt 1846 [1857]

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  • Title: St Marks to Galveston
  • Author: E. & G. W. Blunt
  • Date: 1846 [1857]
  • Medium: Blueback sea chart (engraving backed on original blue manila paper, hand-colored marks highlighting various cities, ports, and sites)
  • Condition: Good – toning, areas of surface dirt, creasing throughout, large area of discoloration left margin, minor cracks in top layer of paper in margins
  • Inches: 40 x 26 [Paper]
  • Centimeters: 101.6 x 66.04 [Paper]
  • Product ID: 316067

Map of the Gulf Coast stretching from Matagorda Bay to Lake Pontchartrain. Includes a few inland details such as coastal marsh systems and the course of the Sabine and Mississippi Rivers. Along the coast appears data about water depth, currents, and magnetic variation, as well as a few annotations addressed to sailors.

Map contains two inset maps in the upper left corner. The smaller, titled “Preliminary Sketch of Galveston Bar Harbour,” shows the mouth of Galveston Harbor between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula. To its left, a larger inset titled “Continuation of the Coast, on a Reduced Scale,” depicts the Texas coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande up to Matagorda Bay. This inset includes Corpus Christi, Copano, Aransas, and Espirito Santo Bays.

Brothers Edmund (1799-1866) and George William (1802-1878) Blunt, sons of American map publisher Edmund March Blunt (1770-1862), opened their own New York firm in 1824. Like their father, they published working sea charts and sold maritime navigational instruments. In 1833, Edmund began working for the United States Coast Survey in addition to running his family’s business. This chart of the Gulf Coast, a revised version of the original 1846 chart, was issued in 1857 and represents a collaboration between the Blunts and the U.S. Coast Survey.

‘Blueback’ charts, so named for their dark blue paper backing, were privately-published working sea charts. Printed on low-quality paper in order to save costs, these maps required their paper backing in order to hold up over the course of long sea voyages. Even so, due to their frequent use, the examples that survive today are quite rare. Expensive and labor-intensive to produce, these first appeared in late-eighteenth century London and became immensely popular by the early-nineteenth century. The convention of blue paper backing soon became common practice for publishers of other nationalities. The use of Bluebacks continued until the mid-nineteenth century, when government agencies began to issue their charts on higher-quality paper which did not require reinforcement.


St. Marks to Galveston.
Sheet II.
E & G.W. Blunt, New York.
Additions to 1857.
Authorities. Major J.D. Graham, U.S.T.E. Commodore E.W. Moore, Texan Navy.
J.D. Boylan. & U.S. Naval & Military Officers
The Variation of the Compass, on the space embraced on this Chart, is from 8.°15’. To 8.°25’. E.
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1846. By E & G.W. Blunt, in the Clerk’s office of the District Court, of the Southern District of New York.