"[Lot of 6] Saint Paul [and] Mission and Plain of San Fernando [and] Fort Benton [and] Fort Vancouver, W.T. [and] U.S. Military Post, Benicia [and] View of Benecia from the West", U.S. Railroad Surveys
Subject: Western United States
Period: 1856-61 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
9.4 x 6.2 inches
23.9 x 15.7 cm
During the 1850s, the U.S. government sponsored an extensive series of expeditions designed to gather information on the vast new territories that had been acquired in western North America. The discovery of gold in California further stimulated westward traffic and heightened the need for a faster and more convenient way to bring the far-flung parts of the country together. In 1853 Congress commissioned the Army's Topographic Bureau to conduct a series of surveys to find a suitable route for a transcontinental railroad. There were six major expeditions; five of them covered the area between the Great Plains and west coast, and the sixth explored the coastal states of California and Oregon. All of these expeditions were accompanied by naturalists and artists to document the landscape, flora and fauna along the route.
The reports, maps and lithographs were published in the 13 volume report "Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a Railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean."
This very attractive lot consists of six tinted lithographic plates from two different volumes of railroad surveys concerning the explorations in the western United States. Size varies slightly.
A. Mission and Plain of San Fernando, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - Cal.. This is the first depiction of the San Fernando Valley (The Valley), the now urban northwest area of Los Angeles.
B. Saint Paul, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
C. Fort Benton, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
D. Fort Vancouver. W.T., from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
E. U.S. Military Post, Benicia, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - Cal..
F. View of Benecia from the West, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - Cal..
The images are clean and bright with light foxing and minor toning along the edges of the sheet.