Description

    Excellent Account of the U.S. Exploration of
    the South Seas 1838-1842

    Charles Wilkes. Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1845. Later edition of the original 1844 first edition. Large octavo. Five volumes (the atlas volume lacking though later editions omitted the atlas altogether). ix, 434; xv, [1], 476; xv, [1], 438; xvi, 539; xv, [1], 558 pages. Engraved portrait of Charles Wilkes by R. W. Dodson after a painting by Thomas Sully. With sixty-two engraved plates under tissue guards and nine double-page maps plus over 250 woodcut and steel engraved text illustrations chiefly after Joseph Drayton and Alfred T. Agate. Contemporary half-calf over marbled boards. All edges marbled. Marbled endpapers. Titles stamped in gilt on morocco spine labels and floral adornments stamped in compartments between five raised bands. Modest shelf wear to bindings, more so at the corners and edges. Scattered light to moderate foxing affecting a few plates. The bookplate of Leigh M. Pearsall on the front pastedown of volume I, III, IV and V. Pages 433-438 in volume III detached and chipped along the edges, else a very good set.
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    More Information:

    Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) "...was appointed to command an exploring and surveying expedition in the Southern Seas, authorized by Congress in 1836. The expedition, including naturalists, botanists, a mineralogist, taxidermists, a philologist, &c., was carried by the sloops-of-war Vincennes and Peacock, the brig Porpoise, the storeship Relief and two tenders...it stopped at Madeira and Rio de Janeiro; visited Tierra del Fuego, Chile, Peru, the Paumotu group of the Low Archipelago, the Samoan islands and New South Wales; from Sydney sailed into the Antarctic Ocean in December 1839 and reported the discovery of an Antarctic continent west of the Balleny islands; visited the Fiji and the Hawaiian islands in 1840, explored the west coast of the United States, including the Columbia river, San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento river, in 1841, and returned by way of the Philippine islands, the Sulu archipelago, Borneo, Singapore, Polynesia and the Cape of Good Hope, reaching New York on the 10th of June 1842" (Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition). Several prominent American writers were influenced by the narrative of Wilkes' expedition, including Herman Melville, who owned a copy of the book and included traces of the description and narrative in Moby Dick, and James Fenimore Cooper, who used portions of the narrative in his sea novels. Hill 1867. Howes W414. Streeter 3324. Sabin 103994.



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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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