(Published in San Francisco by the Institute of Historical Cartography; volume I printed by the Grabhorn Press, volumes II-V printed by Taylor & Taylor and James Printing using the designs of Edwin and Robert Grabhorn, 1957-63). 368 x 264 mm. (14 1/2 x 10 3/8"). Five volumes bound in six. ONE OF 1,000 COPIES.

Publisher's gray linen boards backed with textured buckram, flat spine. In apparently original plain brown dust jackets with ink titling on spines. WITH 374 MAPS, as called for, five in color, 27 folding. Front free endpaper of first volume INSCRIBED TO IRVING W. ROBBINS, JR. AND SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR; front pastedown with Robbins' bookplate; prospectus and envelope containing obituaries of Wheat laid in at front of volume I. Dust jackets a bit creased and frayed (though not in tatters), one minor corner crease to a map, otherwise the volumes themselves IN EXTREMELY FINE CONDITION, clean, fresh, and bright inside and out.

This is a monumental work tracing the cartography of the American West from Coronado's "entrada" in 1540 through the U.S. Geological Survey in 1860. San Francisco lawyer Carl Wheat (1893-1966) pursued the history of the American West as an avocation, and in the process became a respected expert in Californiana. In preparing this work, he spent years seeking out every map--manuscript or printed--documenting the exploration of the American West, and the most significant and interesting specimens have been reproduced here, with discussions of their origins, accuracy, and contribution to knowledge. Volume I covers "The Spanish Entrada to the Louisiana Purchase, 1540-1804"; volume II "From Lewis and Clark to Fremont, 1804-1845"; volume III "From the Mexican War to the Boundary Surveys, 1846-1854"; volume IV "From the Pacific Railroad Surveys to the Onset of the Civil War, 1855-1860"; and volume V "From the Civil War to the Geological Survey." Our set has the bonus of an inscription from one bibliophile to another. Noted California collector Irving W. Robbins, Jr. (1919-95) had two main focuses: fine press books and Western Americana, obviously combined in this item. Robbins served as honorary curator of rare books and manuscripts at Stanford, and donated his Ashendene collection to the university library. He received the prestigious Warren R. Howell Award for distinguished service and exceptional contributions to the development of libraries and special collections at Stanford in 1986.