Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to the Year 1800.
Two volumes. By Henry R. Wagner. (Berkeley: Uni-
versity of California Press, 1938. $20.00.)
The author has traced the evolution of the Cartography of the
Pacific Northwest "from Cabo San Lucas indefinitely to the north"
during the period 1600 to 1800. The text, built around a group of
carefully selected type maps, presents not only a critical appraisal
of the map maker's efforts, but a very complete history of geo-
graphical discovery along the coast of Pacific North America and
particularly of the Northwest, about which so little has been
After giving some necessary attention to the early voyages to
the New World which culminated in the discovery of the Pacific,
to the philosophies motivating the explorers, and to the maps
which were made to record their progress and to facilitate naviga-
tion, he analyzes step by step the process and agencies by which
the west coast of North America became known and the maps
that were made to record the information. From a study of these
maps, it has been possible to determine the contribution which each
voyage of discovery made and to see how map makers gradually
improved their techniques and rectified earlier mistakes as new
and more accurate data became available.
The text is rich in detail and effectively aids the reader in
interpreting the data incorporated on the maps around which
the discussion has been organized. Most of the material has been
drawn from original documents, both printed and manuscripts.
Some of these had been translated and published previously by
the author and are available in various scientific journals. The
maps, culled with assiduous care from a mass of material, are ex-
cellent reproductions of the originals. The majority were selected
as types to indicate the major advances in cartography during
the period. The others were included because on them are to be
found many place names no longer in use, valuable since they record
both the progress of exploration and the changes that took place
following new discoveries. Only a fraction of those examined
could be reproduced in the present work.
Volume II is devoted entirely to supplementary material. It
includes (1) a carefully annotated list of 802 maps, listed chron-
ologically, that have beer examined in the course of the investiga-
tion with a history and a critical appraisal of each, (2) a com-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101107/. Accessed May 24, 2016.