Map of Southern States (Western Section) by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., 1891
"Southern States (Western Section)" Published by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. from The Eclectic Elementary Geography, 1891
In 1889, the Oklahoma Land Rush occurred. It was a momentous event in which - at a designated time and date - thousands of people flooded into various counties in the Oklahoma Territory to stake their claim to previously unassigned plots of land. It significantly increased the population of the area and led to the creation of a number of local schools. Louisiana, at this time, was rife with racial tension and the Separate Car Act was established in 1890. Although Texas had been a state since the year 1845, it was very much a part of the so-called 'wild West' and in 1890 had over one hundred and one executions by hanging and various land disputes. That same year, Rube Barrow, a famous outlaw and train robber and at the time one of America's most wanted men, terrorized travelers throughout the Southern States and Indian territory until he was arrested on October 9th of that same year.
This colored lithograph, taken from an 1891 volume of the children's schoolbook The Eclectic Elementary Geography, beautifully captures the geography of these imaginatively captivating and historically significant Southern states. Decorated in handsome oranges, greens, reds and yellows, it clearly outlines different states and territories along with roads, mountain ranges, and the location of various Indian tribes, including the Choctaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and Chickasaws. It includes Oklahoma (which at this time was merely a territory), Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, a part of New Mexico and the country of Mexico itself, as well as a close-up of New Orleans and the surrounding area with a special focus on the Mississippi River and the surrounding islands.
Interestingly, the book's introduction to the Southern states displays a small engraving of African-American female sharecroppers (not seen here) picking cotton. In fact, the primary focus of the state descriptions, and the 'map questions' children completed as assignments, concern the economy, namely agricultural production. In fact, the South is simply labeled as the "states of the Union in which cotton is grown" (33). This reveals what was most valuable to schools at the time: instructing children not only map-reading skills, but instilling the importance of industry and progress in contrast to today's educational focus on the social and historical importance of a region.
Page 37 of the book provides the following information on the Western section of the Southern states:
"16. Mississippi consists entirely of fertile lowlands, and produces more cotton than any other state in the Union.
Vicksburg and Natchez are flourishing towns. Jackson is the capital.
17. Louisiana embraces the delta of the Mississippi, and contains many lakes and swamps. The chief products are cotton and sugar-cane.
New Orleans is the largest city in the South, and exports cotton and wheat. Shreveport is an important town. Baton Rouge is the capital.
18. Texas is the largest state of the Union. The eastern part is a fertile prairie, adapted to cotton, corn, and wheat. On the dry tablelands in the west, cattle and sheep are raised.
Galveston is a great cotton port. San Antonio and Houston are large inland cities. Austin is the capital. Dallas is a growing city.
19. Arkansas has low and marshy lands along the Mississippi, covered with forests. The Ozark Mountains cross the north-western part of the state.
Little Rock is the capital. Eureka Springs and Hot Springs are noted health resorts.
20. The Indian Territory has been set apart by the United States for the Indians. A portion of this, however, - the Oklahoma district, - was opened to the public for settlement in 1889.
21. Oklahoma Territory was formed in 1890 from the western part of Indian Territory. Stock-raising and farming are the chief pursuits. Guthrie is the capital."
- Onastasia Youssef
Plate size: 8.75" x 11"
Sheet size: 10.5" x 12.75"
Condition: In excellent condition