Auction 162, Lot 97

An Important, Early Report on the American Bison

"The American Bisons, Living and Extinct [bound in] Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Kentucky",

Subject: North America

Period: 1876 (published)


Color: Printed Color

8.8 x 11.6 inches
22.4 x 29.5 cm

Graff describes Joel Allen's report as "the first important work on American bison." It contains 248 pages of text, 12 fossil plates (6 folding) and a large folding map. The report was issued here as part of the Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Kentucky, and was simultaneously issued in the Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (volume 4, number 10). Of particular interest is Allen's large folding Map of North America (29.3 x 24.8") which shows the bison's rapidly shrinking range from the period 1800-1875. The map depicts several railroads cutting across the bison's range and locates sites where bison fossils were discovered along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Allen's report predates Hornaday's important report and Map Illustrating the Extermination of the American Bison by thirteen years.

Also included in the Geological Survey of Kentucky are the following reports by Shaler : "On the Antiquity of the Caverns and Cavern Life of the Ohio Valley" (1 plate), "On the Fossil Brachiopods of the Ohio Valley" (7 plates), and "On the Prehistoric Remains of Kentucky" (7 plates). Quarto, hardbound in modern black cloth with gilt title on spine.

References: Graff #42, Howes #A149.

Condition: B+

The large folding map is clean and mostly bright with light toning along the folds and two short binding tears at left. 4 of the 12 fossil plates associated with the bison report have separated completely along the centerfold and 3 have been reattached with non-archival tape. The remaining plates are near fine. Report text is very good with pleasant light toning, and the modern binding has minimal wear. There is a library bookplate on the inside front cover with a "withdrawn" stamp.

Estimate: $1,200 - $1,500


Closed on 4/26/2017