Catalog Archive
Auction 142, Lot 208

Wheeler's Report on Arizona and Nevada that Includes the First Report on Death Valley

"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 28.5 inches
55.9 x 72.4 cm
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This complete report describes Wheeler's explorations in Nevada and Arizona and the first exploration of Death Valley. It is complete with the large folding Preliminary Topographical Map 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 said 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. Quarto, 96 pp., original gilt-titled green cloth covers. The map was also published in Senate Doc. #65, 42nd Congress, 2nd Session, but this preliminary report is scarce, more so complete with the map.

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 which became 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: C+

The map has a 5" binding tear at left that has been repaired on verso with archival tape. There is some light toning and cockling. Pages are mostly clean except for a few damp stains and cockling in the second half of the report. Covers are worn and slightly warped with minor water damage.

Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $160

Closed on 11/28/2012