Catalog Archive
Auction 163, Lot 361

"Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, Communicating the Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, Showing the Progress of That Work During the Year Ending November, 1848", U.S. Coast Survey

Subject: Texas

Period: 1848 (published)

Publication: Sen. Ex. Doc. 1, 30th Congress, 2nd Sess.

Color: Black & White

5.6 x 8.9 inches
14.2 x 22.6 cm
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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 complete government report describes the survey of the Texas coast that began in 1848 under the direction of A.D. Bache, Superintendent U.S. Coast Survey. This is the Senate edition, which was published a week before the House edition of the report. It includes the first published chart of the survey of the Texas coast "Sketch G Showing the progress in Section No. 9," centered on Galveston City and extending to include the West and East bays and north to Edward's Point. In the 1840s the U.S. coastline under the Coast Survey's charge nearly doubled due to boundary changes related to the end of the Mexican War and the resolved boundary dispute in the Pacific northwest between the U.S. and Great Britain. Surveying work began at Galveston Bay with triangulations laid out in every direction and key points determined from Galveston Bay to the mouth of the Brazos River.

In addition to Galveston, there are 10 other charts and plates:

Sketch A - Coast of New England
Sketch A (tris) - Nantucket Island
Sketch B - Long Island
Sketch B (bis) - Delaware Bay and River
Sketch B (tris) - Long Island
Sketch D - Albemarle Sound
Sketch D (tris) - Water Temperatures
Sketch D (tris) - Saxton's Metallic Thermometer
Sketch E - Charleston Harbor
Sketch F (bis) - Tidal Curves Mobile, AL
Sketch G - Galveston

120 pages. Disbound. 8mo. Several of the folding charts have never been fully opened due to the manner they were bound in and are not illustrated here for that reason.

References: Martin & Martin, p. 147.

Condition: A

A clean and bright example with mostly unopened charts. The Galveston chart has a short cut along the fold (in a completely unengraved area) that was caused when the text block was trimmed during the binding process. Sketch B of Long Island has a section missing (which appears to be a primarily unengraved area), also caused by the trimming of the text block. The last few pages of the report are detached.

Estimate: $240 - $300


Closed on 6/14/2017