HUMBOLDT, Alexander von (1769-1859) and Aimé J.A. BONPLAND (1773-1858). Essai politique sur le royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne. Paris: F. Schoell, 1811. -Atlas Geographique et Physique du Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne. Paris: G. Dufour, 1812.
2 volumes text, 4° (328 x 255mm) and atlas, 2° (574 x 415mm). Half-title in volume II and atlas, vol. I with dedication leaf and 4-page dedication to Charles IV, atlas with 14 maps on 12 sheets (no. 1, 1bis, 2-11 and 18-19, with no. 6, 7, 8 on one sheet), 4 hand-coloured charts (no. 12-15), 2 sepia views (no. 16-17) and a final sheet with 2 tables (no. 20). (Text vols: without series half-titles, series titles and half-title in vol. I, some spotting, sometimes heavier and occasional soiling; Atlas: some intermittent spotting and soiling, few marginal minor tears.) Text: 20th-century blue cloth, gilt spines; Atlas: 19th-century cloth-backed marbled boards (boards detached, lacking spine, rubbed).
FIRST EDITION, second issue, OF THE FIRST SCIENTIFIC DESCRIPTION OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST WHICH INCLUDES A WEALTH OF NEW INFORMATION ON CALIFORNIA AND TEXAS. The work was preceded only by a smaller atlas printed in Tübingen in 1808 and titled Atlas Geographique et Physique du Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne (Wagner-Camp-Becker 7a:1). The text volumes are dated 1811, but they include the suppressed dedication leaf to Charles IV of Spain which is only usually found in the Tübingen edition. The atlas, which was published between 1811 and 1814, includes plates on volcanoes, land profiles, a map of the southern part of North America, maps of Mexico and many of its parts, and most importantly, Humboldt's two-sheet Carte Generale du Royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne. This map contained the most up-to-date geographic depiction of Texas, California and the rest of Mexico, and it became the prototype rendering for much of the region for the next several decades. Carl Wheat called it a ‘truly magnificent cartographic achievement’ and it was THE FIRST PROFILE EVER GIVEN OF AN ENTIRE COUNTRY. Cowan p. 296 (another edition); Graff 2009; Hill p. 149 (another edition: ‘a founding text in the field of economic geography and political geography’); Howes H786 (‘Of superlative California importance’). Phillips 2682 (atlas collation as in this copy); Reese & Miles Creating America 23; Ramsey 328; Sabin 33756; Streeter I:195; Streeter Texas 1042 note; Wagner-Camp-Becker 7a:3, 7a:3a:2; Wheat Mapping the Transmississippi West 302-305 (listing only the 12 maps).