California Pioneers:
territorial ambitions

Territorial Ambitions, Mapping the Far West, 1772 - 1872

The Society of California Pioneers is pleased to exhibit a selection of rare and influential maps in Territorial Ambitions: Mapping the Far West, 1772-1872. The exhibition spans the period of Western exploration in the later eighteenth century, when California was often depicted as an island, up until the establishment of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. During this time, vast, uncharted areas west of the one-hundredth meridian were gradually explored, mapped and remapped, while utopian fantasies of "lost" cities of gold, a northwest passage to India, and an American Arcadia on the Pacific Slope were reconciled with geographic reality.

Territorial Ambitions contains approximately fifty maps from The Society’s collection that have never before been shown publicly. The exhibition features such major works as Didier-Robert De Vaugondy’s 1772 Carte de Californie, La Perouse’s journal of 1785-88, and John Frémont and Charles Preuss’ 1842 Map of Oregon and Upper California. There are mining maps by Edward Ord and William Jackson and The Official Map of the City of San Francisco by William M. Eddy. The exhibition also includes railroad maps, topographical maps, bird’s eye views, nautical maps and coastal surveys. All of these maps were instrumental in helping to determine the economic and political future of the American West.

The Society of California Pioneers is the state's oldest historical organization. It was founded in 1850 by pre-Gold Rush pioneers. The Society offers free educational programs to Bay Area schools. Dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and enjoyment of California heritage, the Society’s archives include an outstanding collection of 19th and early 20th century artwork, artifacts, photographs and manuscripts. The Society also houses the Alice Phelan Sullivan Library and the Moore Gallery, which are open to the public by appointment.

Vicki Wiese, Visitor Services Coordinator
The Society of California Pioneers
300 Fourth Street at Folsom
San Francisco, CA 94107

Exhibition Dates: October 31, 2003 - May 28, 2004
Museum Hours: Weds – Friday, and the 1st Saturday of each Month 10am– 4pm
General Admission $3; Students & Seniors $1


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