Catalog Archive
Auction 156, Lot 236

"Reconnaissance of Smith's or Blunt's Island Washington... [on sheet with] Sketch of Anacapa Island in Santa Barbara Channel", U.S. Coast Survey

Subject: Smith Island, Washington, & Anacapa Island, California

Period: 1854 (dated)


Color: Black & White

9.4 x 11.9 inches
23.9 x 30.2 cm

The Office of Coast Survey is the oldest U.S. scientific organization, dating from 1807 when Congress directed that a "survey of the coast" be carried out. By 1836, it was called the U.S. Coast Survey and in 1878, the name was changed to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Today the Office of Coast Survey is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA.

The survey teams, composed of civilians as well as Army and Naval officers, charted the nation's waterways and produced a wide array of reports, survey charts, hydrographic studies of tides and currents, astronomical studies and observations, and coastal pilots. These charts are an important record of the changing nature of the nation's coastlines. In additional to coastal charts, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey produced land sketches, Civil War battle maps, and the early aeronautical charts.

This sheet features two striking charts. The first shows Smith Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington, complete with soundings and other navigational information. The other chart depicts the volcanic Anacapa Island off the coast of Ventura County, California, with a view of the eastern part of the island. It is notable for being engraved in part by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, the maverick American painter who was a leader in the Aesthetic Movement, which emphasized the idea of "art for art's sake."


Condition: B+

Issued folding with minor toning along the folds and a tiny tear at the fold intersection that has been closed on verso with archival tape. A binding trim at left has been partially replaced with old paper to accommodate framing.

Estimate: $140 - $170


Closed on 2/17/2016