Stanford’s Folio Smaller Railway Map of the United States (1876)

The Stanford’s Smaller Railway Map of the United States is from a fascinating series of reproductions from our Edward Stanford Cartographic Collection archive. This map was originally published in 1876, the year the United States celebrated its centennial.

Plain background with hachure for mountain ranges makes the place names marked on the map easy to read. In common with other map published by Stanfords around that time, numerous smaller rivers are named. Latitude and longitude lines are drawn at 5° intervals.

In the contiguous U.S all the states which acceded to the Union after the map’s publication date are already there, but with the Dakotas as one state and Oklahoma shown as the Indian Territory and its panhandle as separate Public Lands.

Distinctive characters marked on this map include federal capitals and state capitals and ‘unsettled territories’.

States, territories and tribes are shown and you can clearly see the difference from east to west with the right side of the map being far more densely populated with capitals and the west containing tribal names including Sioux and Cheyenne who were involved in the Battle of the Rosebud on the 17th June 1876.

Funnily enough, being billed as a railway map, the railway lines are rather hard to distinguish. On June 4th 1876 (two months before this map was published) the Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco via the First Transcontinental Railroad. It took 83 hours and 39 minutes from New York City.

This map is dated 1st August 1876 which is the same day that Colorado was admitted as the 38th U.S state. That Stanfords would have already known to include it as a state may have had something to do with the fact that it was also the year that Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for his invention, the telephone.

Also published this year was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

Planning a trip to the United States of America? We have lots of maps and guides:


Reproductions of the Stanford’s Folio Smaller Railway Map of the United States (1876) and other maps from the Edward Stanford Cartographic Collection are available in a number of sizes on paper and canvas from £7.99


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