REPORTS OF EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS, TO ASCERTAIN THE MOST PRACTICABLE AND ECONOMICAL ROUTE FOR A RAILROAD FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN. MADE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR, IN 1853-4...
by [Pacific Railroad Surveys]
Washington, 1860. Twelve volumes bound in thirteen. Profusely illustrated with maps, lithographic plates, colored lithographic plates, profiles, etc. Large, thick quarto. Original blindstamped cloth, spines gilt. Minor edgewear. Each volume rebacked, retaining original backstrip, but with new endpapers. All but one volume from the Senate issue (Volume XII, Part 1 is the House issue, with a Senate backstrip). Volumes III and X each with two extra plates not called for by Wagner-Camp or in the survey's lists of illustrations, Volume V and Volume XII, Part 1 lacking one plate each. A number of maps with holes and separations along fold lines, several with large tears, including Warren's map of the western United States. Also lacking the general map of of the routes surveyed from Volume XI. Occasional tideline affecting text or an illustration, scattered foxing and toning. Overall quite clean internally. Good plus. This large quarto set is the most important and massive compilation of exploration reports and data ever published about the trans-Mississippi West. Under the direction of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, the Pacific Railroad survey in two years increased the contemporary knowledge of the geography, topography, geology, and natural history of the West by a quantum leap. Included herein are the reports of Humphreys, Stevens, Beckwith, Whipple, Warren, Williamson, Lander, et al., supplemented with reports on scientific observations, and numerous significant achievements in cartography including Warren's "Map of the Territory of the United States from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean..." (here present in the eleventh volume), which has been hailed as "the best cartographical work on the West up to its time..." (Howes). The illustrative material (engraved and lithographed views, specimens of birds, fishes, and other animals) is of the highest quality, often in colored state, and encompasses thousands of illustrations, either in the text or as separate plates. Wheat devotes twenty-four pages of detailed discussion to the maps in this series of reports, singling out the Warren map as "among the great maps of the United States that preceded the Civil War." All things considered, this edition of the Pacific Railroad Surveys stands as a testament to one of the greatest government sponsored projects in our history, and is a foundation work for any collection devoted to Western Americana or cartography. HOWES P3, etc. WHEAT TRANSMISSISSIPPI 822 through 824, 843 through 846, 852, 853, 864 through 867, 874, 875, 877 through 882, 898, 936 (23 in all). TWENEY 89, 59. WAGNER-CAMP 262 through 267. RITTENHOUSE 442. REESE, STAMPED WITH A NATIONAL CHARACTER 75. ZAMORANO SELECT 108.
(Inventory #: WRCAM41089B)
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