Robert V. Hine is a professor of history at the University of California at Riverside. This article is based on his book, Bartlett’s West , to be published shortly by the Yale University Press. The bulk of the art that came out of the border survey—both Bartlett’s efforts and those of the men he commissioned—has been housed at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island, with which Bartlett was associated from 1856 until his death thirty years later. The works will be on loan to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, for an exhibition that opens this month.
In 1850 John Russell Bartlett set out to draw up—and draw—a border between the United States and Mexico. He put up with an infernal wilderness, fractious colleagues, and a damsel ungrateful for his chivalry, but he left a rich legacy of art