Auction 136, Lot 255

"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

9.3 x 11.7 inches
23.6 x 29.7 cm

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.

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

Condition: B+

The map is clean and crisp with a short tear into the border and one fold separation - condition code is for the map. The first pages are brittle, some with chips and cracks and end paper loose. Bookplate on the inside front cover has been removed. The spine is starting to crack but is still sound.

Estimate: $230 - $275

Sold for: $180

Closed on 6/1/2011