The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1988, Volume 34, Number 2
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor

Book Notes

Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor

The Mapping of the American Southwest.

Edited by Dennis Reinhartz and Charles C. Colley. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987. Illustrations. Maps. Appendix. 83 Pages. $24.50.

The Mapping of the Southwest is the first publication of the Special Collections Library of the University of Texas at Arlington, and it shows their love of beautiful books. Done on quality paper, with beautiful (although too small to read without a magnifying glass) reproductions of maps, and with a lovely binding, this is a delightful book. It contains four essays on mapping in the Southwest, an appendix on map maker Herman Moll, and reproductions of many pertinent maps. The essays grew out of a conference at the Library and reflect a strong Texas focus. That being the case, of what interest (other than aesthetic) would this book be to the Southern California historian? For one thing, the essays on mapping from 1519 through the nineteenth century contain general background which is pertinent to understanding the map history of San Diego. More precisely, the essay on the German cartographer, Herman Moll, includes a significant section on the depiction of California as an island on early maps. The article on United States Army mapping of Texas from 1848 through 1850 is of interest because of the prospective Texas-San Diego railroad, and because many of the goldseekers came to California through Texas and San Diego County. The last essay, which discusses how maps shaped images of the western United States in the nineteenth century, includes considerable information on California, and most of the twelve maps which illustrate the piece cover Southern California.