Catalog Archive
Auction 130, Lot 234

"Preliminary Topographical Map [with report] Preliminary Report Concerning Explorations and Surveys Principally in Nevada and Arizona", Wheeler, George (Lt)

Subject: Southwestern United States

Period: 1871 (dated)


Color: Black & White

22 x 28 inches
55.9 x 71.1 cm
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This is the complete report describing the explorations in Nevada and Arizona, which includes the first exploration of the Mojave and Death valleys. It includes the large folding map (21.8 x 27.5") that covers parts of Southern California, Nevada and Arizona and details scores of mining districts. Wheat refers to it as a "map of great interest." Wheeler was modest regarding the map's construction and in the notations announced that the map "is a hasty and partial compilation from the topographical data already received, many still remaining en route." The report contains a great amount of information on the mining districts, as well as information concerning the Indians, military sites, routes for roads, and grazing lands. 4to, 96 pp., original gilt-titled green cloth covers. The map was also published in Senate Doc. #65, 42nd Congress, 2nd Session; the preliminary report complete with the map is much more scarce.

This map is labeled preliminary, as it was the forerunner of what would become one of the most important surveys of the American West. The 1870s was a period of intense effort, by such prominent people as Clarence King, Ferdinand Hayden, and John Wesley Powell, to advance the geographical knowledge of the West. These various surveys presented a threat to the Army's supremacy in the field of mapping and to the related appropriations from Congress. As a result of these pressures, the Army Corp of Engineers developed a plan to systematically survey the entire West to be called the U.S. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian. Lieutenant George Wheeler was chosen to head this immense project largely as a result of the surveys he conducted in Nevada and Arizona. The report was published as Senate Doc. #65, 42nd , 2nd Session . On the front blank end paper is Lieut. Wheeler's bookplate stating "Sent at the request of Lieut. G.M. Wheeler. Corps of Engineers" with the owners name in ink above "Wm. W. Bishop, Pioche, Nevada." Mr. Bishop was the attorney for John Doyle Lee, the single Mountain Meadows culprit arrested and put to death. 4to, hardbound in green cloth with gilt stamped title, 96pp.

References: Howes W321; Wheat [TMW] #1237.

Condition: A

The map has two areas of very light staining or soiling, still very good. The reports covers are rubbed and soiled with front cover warped. Inside pages are mostly clean with the occasional foxing spot. Paper near ends with more foxing, tip of last blank end paper missing.

Estimate: $300 - $350


Closed on 12/2/2009