"[Map in Book] Reconnaissance of the Zuni, Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers in 1851…[Bound in] Report of an Expedition Down the Zuni and Colorado Rivers", Sitgreaves, Lorenzo (Capt.)
Subject: Southwestern United States
Period: 1854 (published)
Publication: 33rd Congress, 1st Session
Color: Black & White
6 x 9.3 inches
15.2 x 23.6 cm
A very scarce, well illustrated, early southwestern New Mexico, southern Arizona, and southern California (then mostly New Mexico territory) report that provided important observations and contributions to the geography, cartography, ethnology, and natural history of this largely unexplored region. The purpose of Sitgreaves' expedition was to examine the course and character of the Zuni and Colorado Rivers, especially with regard to navigational properties, and to provide observations on the character of the adjacent lands. His report consists of a daily journal that describes the terrain, trail and river conditions, Indian settlements, presence of water supplies and grass, etc. Various brief encounters with the Zuni, Mohave, Cosnina, Yumas, and Yampais are described, some involving armed attacks resulting in injury and loss of life to members of the expedition party. Apart from his main mission, his explorations discovered and documented new species of mammals, reptiles, and plants. He was accompanied in the field by Lieutenant J. G. Parke (topographical engineer), S. W. Woodhouse (natualist), R. H. Kern (draftsman and illustrator), plus guides, packers, and a soldier escort. Much of the report consists of illustrations and appendices on natural history by Woodhouse, Spencer Baird, Charles Girard, Edward Hallowell, and John Torrey. These sections covered botany and zoology with numerous plates of mammals, snakes lizards, birds, fish, and plants. Special attention to Indian subjects was provided in the drawings by Richard Kern. His depictions of customs, ceremonies, and daily life of native Americans are particularly noteworthy with the folding plate of the Buffalo Dance of the Zuni being the first published illustration of this seldom practiced ceremony. Kern's drawings of scenes along the route are among the first published views of these areas. Complete with the large folding map, which is normally missing, Reconnaissance of the Zuni, Little Colorado and Colorado Rivers in 1851… (47.5 x 26.3"). Wheat comments that "all in all this map is a monumental achievement and while it is marred by misspellings (such as "Butles" for Buttes) it is generally correct and is exceedingly well done." Much of Sitgreaves route is followed by the Santa Fe Railroad of today.
Octavo, 198 pages, 78 lithographed plates (one folding), and folding map bound at back. Original Senate binding in dark brown cloth with stamped title and designs on spine and covers.
References: Wheat (TMW) #763; Howes #S521; Wagner-Camp #230:2.
The large folding map has light toning, a few spots of foxing, several tiny splits at fold intersections, and a 1" binding tear at left. Text and plates are very good to near fine with very occasional scattered foxing. There is a library stamp on front pastedown and title page. Covers have light shelf wear and the spine is sunned.