• Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    (Cover to) The Voyage from New York to San Francisco upon the Union Pacific Railroad.
    • Date
    • 1870
    • Creator
    • Union Pacific Railroad Game
    • Description
    • Date and author estimated, not indicated in the printed materials. An unusual board game based on the "new Union Pacific Railroad." The game board shows forty five beautifully executed views of places along the Union Pacific route, starting... more
      Date and author estimated, not indicated in the printed materials. An unusual board game based on the "new Union Pacific Railroad." The game board shows forty five beautifully executed views of places along the Union Pacific route, starting with "Rail road depot in New York" and ending in "San Francisco, the metropolis of California." Along the way, we have, among others, views of Pittsburgh, Omaha, "surprise by savage Indians," "wild heard of buffalloes," "railroad bridge over the Platte river," Cheyenne, Green River, Humboldt Valley, "Trukee" Valley, Sierra Nevada and Sacramento. The text is titled "Trip from New-York to San Francisco by the Union Pacific Rail Road. A new illustrated Travel-game with 45 stations, 1 dy, 12 cars and 12 numbers charts." The text is written in German and English and explains the game and the views. The cover of the game box (19x24) has a lovely colored litho view of two women joining hands across the American Continent, one representing America and the other Asia. Not in any of the standard game references - rare.. See note field above. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
    • Contributing Institution
    • David Rumsey

  • Courtesy the University of California, via the HathiTrust Digital Library.

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    Mining salutes Idaho's 50 years of statehood, 1890-1940
    • Date
    • 1940
    • Creator
    • Idaho Mining Association (Boise, Idaho)
    • Rights
    • Public domain. Learn more at http://www.hathitrust.org/access_use
    • Partner
    • HathiTrust Digital Library; University of California
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of California.

  • Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    Oregon, Californien, Utah, New Mexico, etc. (with inset map)
    • Date
    • 1854
    • Creator
    • Lange, Henry, 1821-1893; Kraatz, Leopold; Lange, Henry
    • Description
    • Engraved map. Borders hand col. Shows roads, post offices, etc. Relief shown by hachures.. Includes index to maps. First edition. The cartography is elegant and understated. The eighteen maps and text comprise a general atlas of North America, with s... more
      Engraved map. Borders hand col. Shows roads, post offices, etc. Relief shown by hachures.. Includes index to maps. First edition. The cartography is elegant and understated. The eighteen maps and text comprise a general atlas of North America, with special emphasis on Texas and California. The Texas map shows in colored outline the lands granted to the Adelsverein and has the post road from Indianola to New Braunfels marked in red. The map of Oregon, California, Utah, New Mexico, etc. shows the gold regions in California and has an inset map of San Francisco Bay. There is also a striking separate map of San Francisco Bay titled "Bai San Francisco und Vereinigung des Sacramento mit dem San Joaquin." It has a lovely inset view of San Francisco and shows the routes by river to Sacramento and San Joaquin. Also issued under the title of "Kartenwerk zu dr. Karl Andree's Nord-Amerika," see P1231. Outline color. Bound in patterned paper covered boards with dark blue cloth spine with "Lange Atlas von Nord-amerika" stamped in gold.. P-Maps, p. 606; P1230; Wheat Gold 264; cf Graff 2851 (Mollhausen Map); Tooley Dictionary p 375.. P1230; Tooley Dictionary p 375. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
    • Contributing Institution
    • David Rumsey

  • Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    Gray's Atlas California and Nevada
    • Date
    • 1874
    • Creator
    • Gray, Ormando Willis
    • Description
    • Prime meridians Washington D.C. and Greenwich. Relief shown by hachures.. Late 1874 issue - the extra double page Oregon, California and Nevada map is undated and the inset map of the Bay Area shows a new railroad from Benicia, and other railroads pr... more
      Prime meridians Washington D.C. and Greenwich. Relief shown by hachures.. Late 1874 issue - the extra double page Oregon, California and Nevada map is undated and the inset map of the Bay Area shows a new railroad from Benicia, and other railroads projected. However, we cannot find any other changes from the early 1874 issue. Edition for the California market, with the extra map of Sacramento and the map of Oregon, California and Nevada. Full color throughout differentiating countries, states, and counties.. P4526. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
    • Contributing Institution
    • David Rumsey

Although the gold rushes of the 19th and early 20th century were by all measurements immensely important events—events that changed America’s international identity, national culture and the very shape of its land—they did not that make the hundreds of thousands of hopefuls who journeyed to the gold fields rich beyond their wildest dreams. Instead, the gold rushes helped pave the way for a new America—a country whose territory stretched from coast to coast, whose morals were a curious mix of frontier individualism and old world propriety, whose economic and social influence over the world would continue to grow for over a century, and whose relationship with race, gender, class, and national origin formed a tangled web, still being unknotted today.

The gold rushes had a profound and lasting impact on U.S. geography as well. They catalyzed massive population migrations which brought government and commerce that transformed expansive territories into new, bounded U.S. states in the West like California (1850) and Idaho (1890), and tiny settlements into large American cities like San Francisco and Denver.  Although the earliest groups of gold rush migrants traveled by steamship and overland, migration to the West and related economic needs spurred the growth of railroads connecting the U.S. coasts, culminating in the creation of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. The new railroad bridged the gap between east and west and opened up unpopulated areas in the country’s interior for development, settlement, and exploration, following the paths paved by the gold rush migrants.