Description

    The San Juan Exploring Expedition

    J[ohn] N. Macomb. Report of the Exploring Expedition from Santa Fé, New Mexico, to the Junction of the Grand and Green Rivers of the Great Colorado of the West, in 1859, under the Command of Capt. J. N. Macomb, Corps of Topographical Engineers (Now Colonel of Engineers); with Geological Report by Prof. J. S. Newberry, Geologist of the Expedition. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1876.

    First edition. Large quarto (11 9/16 x 9 3/16 inches; 294 x 233 mm.). vii, [1, blank], 152 pages. Eleven numbered chromolithographed plates by J. J. Young from sketches by Dr. J. S. Newberry, with tissue guards, three lithographed plates, and eight numbered lithographed plates of fossils, each with a leaf of descriptive text. Plates lithographed by T. Sinclair & Son of Philadelphia. Complete with the large folding "Map of Explorations and Surveys in New Mexico and Utah Made under the Direction of the Secretary of War by Capt. J. N. Macomb Topl. Engrs. Assisted by C. H. Dimmock, C. Engr. 1860") (often lacking, described by Wheat (Mapping the Transmississippi West) as "one of the most beautiful maps ever published by the Army." At head of title: Engineer Department, U. S. Army.

    "General Report": pp. [3]-8; "Geological Report. By J. S. Newberry, M. D., LL. D., Geologist to the Expedition": pp. [9]-118; "Descriptions of the Cretaceous Fossils Collected on the San Juan Exploring Expedition under Capt. J. N. Macomb, U. S. Engineers. By F. B. Meek": pp. [119]-133; "Descriptions of the Carboniferous and Triassic Fossils Collected on the San Juan Exploring Expedition under Capt. J. N. Macomb, U. S. Engineers. By J. S. Newberry, Geologist of the Expedition:" pp. [135]-148.

    Publisher's dark brown sand-grain cloth with covers ruled in blind and spine ruled and lettered in gilt with gilt device at foot of spine. Corners and spine extremities, with cloth fraying, a few splits to cloth on joints, upper corners bumped, affecting the upper corner of the text block front hinge starting, small dark stain to cloth on spine, and a few small areas of discoloration to cloth on covers. Paper very slightly browned, but except for some occasional minor soiling, this copy is very clean internally. Two short marginal tears to the large folding map (not affecting image), a few short splits at folds. Ink stamp of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Boston, on title. An excellent copy.

    "[The San Juan expedition] showed conclusively that no feasible supply route existed leading into the Great Basin from that direction. However, in the realm of geography and geology its implications were considerable. The whole drainage of the San Juan had been traced and the relationship of that river with the Colorado clearly established. More important, they had also established that the Green River united with the Grand to form the Colorado. The entire maze of intricate canyon country had been threaded, and its geography revealed for the first time. In addition, Newberry was able to establish numerous stratigraphic columns, and to trace the Triassic, Jurassic, and Carboniferous strata far out across the Colorado River...Newberry...introduced a new level of sophistication into the study of western geology...Of Newberry it might be said that more than any other scientist since Frémont he had opened up new and unknown country to the civilized world" (Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West, 1803-1863).

    Graff 2647. Howes M179 ("Publication of this report was intended for 1861, but the Civil War compelled a delay of fifteen years").


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    June, 2008
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