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Book spines from Clarence King "Report of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel made by order of the Secretary of War" (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1870-1880)
Donald A. Heald - Rare Books, Prints & Maps
Courtesy of Donald A. Heald, #19012
[KING, Clarence (1842-1901), and others]
Report of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel made by order of the Secretary of War
[Text:] Washington: Government Printing Office: [Atlas:] New York: Julius Bien, [Text:]1878-1877-1870-1877-1871-1876-1880, [atlas: no date, but 1870]. 8 volumes only (text: 7 volumes, quarto [11 7/16 x 9 inches]; atlas: 1 volume only [of 2], oblong folio [19 1/4 x 25 1/8 inches]). Text: numerous maps, plates, and illustrations throughout, some coloured, some folding or double-page. Atlas: lithographed throughout, title, 1 uncoloured map, 3 chromolithographic geological maps, 10 lithographic sectional maps showing mining operations, with hand-colouring and colour-printing (2 double-page). Text: uniform original blue cloth, titled in gilt on spine, small tears or scuffing to joints and extremities, atlas: original blue half morocco, titled in gilt on upper cover.
With over 4000 pages of text and hundreds of plates, maps and illustrations, this was a landmark publication in American science and in knowledge of the American West. "As a great and epic feat of exploration and adventure, the King Survey surpassed everything else that had been done in the latter-day West...but the most important result of his adventures was the monographs produced with incredible diligence and insight by King and his staff" - Goetzmann.
An almost complete set of the final reports of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, better known after its field director, Clarence King, as the King Survey. The reports appeared in seven volumes over a ten-year period, reporting on field work in the American West between 1868 and 1878. This set is lacking only the large separately issued atlas of ten double-sheet geological and topographical maps. It does include the other atlas, Atlas accompanying volume III on Mining Industry (New York: Julius Bien, [no date]), which includes a series of fascinating large scale cross-sectional maps showing mines workings in the area.
The King Survey, with those of Hayden, Wheeler, and Powell, was one of the great scientific reconnaisances of the American West made in the fifteen years after the Civil War. King himself, called "the best and brightest man of his generation" by his friend, Henry Adams, was a dynamic leader and a brilliant organizer of field research. His survey, stretching from northern California across Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Kansas, provided a physical cross-section of the vast West, already subdued in a military sense, but only beginning to be understood from a scientific perspective. King was accompanied by an expert crew of scientists, as well as the photographer, Timothy O'Sullivan, whose work provides the basis for the lavish illustrations in King's own Systematic Geology..., the first volume in the set. Other volumes, also extensively illustrated, cover descriptive geology, the mining industry, paleontology, botany, petrography, and O.C. Marsh's pioneering work on dinosaurs, Odontornithes.
Schmeckebier Publications...of the surveys pp.38-40; Goetzmann Exploration and Empire pp.438-66; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 76.