Auction 124, Lot 774

"[Lot of 2] Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean Vol. II [and] Volume IV", U.S. Railroad Surveys

Subject: Exploration and Surveys, Western United States

Period: 1855 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

9.5 x 11.5 inches
24.1 x 29.2 cm

The second volume of this important series contains reports by Lt. E.G. Beckwith, F.W. Lander, Lt. John G. Parka and Lt. Col. W.H. Emory. This example contains five of the original six reports, with Pope's report not included. There are 17 plates interspersed throughout the book. Thirteen of these plates are very attractive tinted lithograph views, including Sangre de Cristo Pass, Fort Massachusetts, View of Ordinary Lateral Ravines on Grand River, two views of the Grand Canyon and a panorama of the Book Cliffs. Four geologic plates showing fossilized marine life are also featured. 4to. 235 pages.

Volume IV contains 59 expertly rendered botanical lithographic prints, as well as the very attractive Botanical Profile. Representing the Forest Trees Along the Route Explored by Lieut. A.W. Whipple …from Fort Smith to San Pedro, a thematic chart that describes the various trees encountered by Whipple on his expedition for the railroad surveys. The profile shows the trees, or their leaves at the different elevations. A key identifies 42 different trees, including the Cereus Giganteus, or Saguaro, which was first identified only a few years earlier. There are three levels of graphical representation depicting Whipple's route containing more than 250 small images of trees drawn by J.M. Bigelow, M.D., the botanist to the expedition. This informative graphic display of data is one of the first published efforts to document this information. 4to. 481 pages total. Both hardbound in matching original brown cloth with decorative embossing.


Condition: B

Text and plates are generally very good with some varying toning, damp stains and occasional foxing. Pencil notations inside front covers. Covers are scuffed and bumped. Spines and bindings are starting to loosen. Vol. IV with back cover detached.

Estimate: $400 - $500

Sold for: $220

Closed on 5/7/2008