The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984 Page: 217
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NORMAN D. BROWN, Editor
Contours of Discovery: Printed Maps Delineating the Texas and
Southwestern Chapters in the Cartographic History of North
America, 1513-z930, a portfolio of facsimile maps, together with
A User's Guide. By Robert Sidney Martin and James C. Martin.
(Austin: Texas State Historical Association, in cooperation with
the Center for Studies in Texas History, University of Texas at
Austin, 1982. Portfolio: 22 maps. Guide: Pp. vi+66. Foreword,
illustrations, bibliography, glossary. $35.)
With the possible exception of students of military campaigns, his-
torians rarely make proper use of maps. Contours of Discovery, a port-
folio collection of twenty-two maps of Texas accompanied by a signifi-
cant book, modestly entitled A User's Guide, dramatically points up
the value of maps in the study of Texas history. The beautifully
colored maps in this collection range from the world maps of Martin
Waldseemueller and Abraham Ortelius, published in the sixteenth
century, to the Texas Planning Board Series, published for the Texas
Centennial in 1936. Thus, they span five centuries of visions of Texas,
since maps, as much as paintings and drawings, represent visualiza-
tions of a place.
This collection demonstrates, however, not only visions of Texas,
but also the significance of the region in world politics, as well as in
American social, political, and economic history. We see in the eigh-
teenth-century French, Spanish, and English maps an imperialist
struggle over the heartland of North America and the ways in which
Texas figured in the struggle. We see important treaty maps, such as
that of John Melish, which was used as the basis of the Transconti-
nental Boundary treaty of i819, and that of John Disturnell, which
actually became part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending
the war with Mexico in 1848. We also see Stephen F. Austin's maps
portraying the early settlement of Texas, immigrant guide maps, and
Alexander A. Grant's Railroad and County Map of 1885. Virtually the
only types of maps missing from this stunning portfolio are military
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984, periodical, 1983/1984; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/253/?rotate=90: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.