Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 135

The First Weather Map Printed in the United States

"Map Embodying the Information Received by the Committee on Meteorology of the Franklin Institute... [bound in] Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania ... Vol. XXII",

Subject: Eastern United States, Weather

Period: 1838 (published)


Color: Black & White

10.8 x 9.1 inches
27.4 x 23.1 cm
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This 442 page volume contains the monthly issues from July to December 1838 of the Journal of the Franklin Institute. Contained within this volume is James P. Epsy's meteorological report (pp. 161-175) and important weather map. Covering the eastern half of the United States, it shows weather data from 50 different stations during the Great Storm of March 15-18, 1838. Weather station data on the map included barometric pressure, general weather description, precipitation type (if any), and wind direction. Once these reports were assembled, it put together a clear picture of the storm's path and impacts.

James Epsy started his professional career in 1814 as a lawyer and switched careers after a few years, becoming a mathematics and classics instructor at the Franklin Institute. In the 1830s, Epsy turned his attention to meteorology and found a convenient academic outlet through the Institute's Journal. At this time he also established a committee on meteorological observations, which was the basis for this map and report. Octavo, hardbound in quarter leather with tips over marbled boards.


Condition: B+

The map is near fine with faint offsetting. Text is mostly clean and tight with the exception of the last 20 pages or so that are moderately toned (these are the title pages to the monthly issues, assembled at the back). Covers are nearly detached and have moderate wear. Spine label is chipped at top and bottom.

Estimate: $250 - $325

Sold for: $150

Closed on 9/11/2019