Catalog Archive
Auction 109, Lot 732

"[Lot of 10 - United States]", U.S. Railroad Surveys

Subject: Exploration - Railroad

Period: 1853 (circa)



See Description

During the 1850s, the U.S. government sponsored an extensive series of expeditions designed to gather information on the vast new territories that had been acquired in western North America. The discovery of gold in California further stimulated westward traffic and heightened the need for a faster and more convenient way to bring the far-flung parts of the country together. In 1853 Congress commissioned the Army's Topographic Bureau to conduct a series of surveys to find a suitable route for a transcontinental railroad. There were six major expeditions; five of them covered the area between the Great Plains and west coast, and the sixth explored the coastal states of California and Oregon. All of these expeditions were accompanied by naturalists and artists to document the landscape, flora and fauna along the route. The reports, maps and lithographs were published in the 13 volume report "Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a Railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean."

Nice group of tinted lithographs from the Railroad Surveys. Seven views, all about 9 x 6.5". Includes: 1) Lost Mountains in the Great Basin; 2) Water Line and Shores of the Ancient Lake (Colorado Desert); 3) Entrance to the Tejon Pass and a Portion of the Tejon; 4) Great Basin from the Summit of Tejon Pass; 5) U.S. Military Post Benicia; 6) The Great Basin from the Canada de las Uvas with the Lost Mountains in the Distance; 7) Point of Rocks Covered with a Calcareous Incrustation.

A map titled "Geological Map of the Tejon Pass & Canadas de las Uvas and the Vicinity. Including the Pass of San Francisquito & Williamsons Pass" 9 x 6.2". Details the region with topography shown via hachure. Plus two bird prints from the surveys. Both sized about 7 x 9". "Picoides Dorsalis, Male and Female" and "Corvus Caurinus, parts."


Condition: A

All are fine to very good.

Estimate: $80 - $100

Sold for: $90

Closed on 12/1/2004