"Progress-Report Upon Geographical and Geological Explorations and Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian, in 1872...", Wheeler, George (Lt)
Subject: Western United States
Period: 1874 (published)
Color: Printed Color
21 x 16.4 inches
53.3 x 41.7 cm
The 1870s was a period of intense effort, by such prominent people as Clarence King, Ferdinand Hayden, and John Wesley Powell, to advance the geographical knowledge of the West. These various surveys presented a threat to the Army's supremacy in the field of mapping and to the related appropriations from Congress. As a result of these pressures, the Army Corp of Engineers developed a plan to systematically survey the entire West to be called the U.S. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian. The region was divided up into 95 rectangles, with atlas sheets to be prepared for each, comprising an area 2°45' of longitude and 1°40' of latitude on a scale of eight miles to the inch. Lieutenant George Wheeler was chosen to head this immense project. Surveys were conducted each summer from 1872 to 1878, after which Congress cut off appropriations for field work; thus the survey was not completed as originally envisioned. Wheeler published annual reports from 1873 to 1884, as well as the final Geographical Report published in 1889. The maps from this report are a valuable document of the record of Western exploration.
This original report contains plates from the earliest photographs of the Grand Canyon, taken during Wheeler's expedition of 1872. The Grand Canyon plates are: Grand Canon of the Colorado - Mouth of Kanab Wash, Looking East; and Looking South into the Grand Canon - Colorado River. The other plates are: Rain Sculpture - Salt Creek Canon - Utah; and Canon of Kanab Wash - Colorado River - Looking South. There are two maps: Camp at Beaver. Belknap Peak and Vicinity, Utah (black & white, 9 x 7"); and Skeleton Map of the Territory of the United States west of the Mississippi River Exhibiting the Relations Existing between lines and areas of Exploration & Surveys… (printed color, 21 x 16.5"). The latter map uses fine red overprinting to show the history of explorations throughout the region west of the Mississippi River. It is an index map to surveys with a heavy grid and a legend locating Astronomical Stations, Military Posts, and Telegraph Lines. The area surveyed by Wheeler and King are shown in different shading. The report is in its original paper wrapper and housed in a modern clamshell case.
The folding map has faint color offsetting, light toning at top, and a tiny binding tear confined to the blank margin that has been closed on verso with archival tape. Text and plates have light scattered foxing. Paper wrappers are worn and soiled, and the modern case is near fine.