Description

    William H. Emory. Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, Made Under the Direction of the Secretary of the Interior. Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1857-1859. First edition, Senate issue. 4to. Two volumes bound in five. xvi, 258, viii, 174; 62, 31; 78; 270; 35, 85pp. Two folding maps (one hand-colored). One full-page map. A folding cross-sectional map of the entire border, showing the rises in elevation. A folding meteorological chart. A total of 346 engravings, thirty-six which are colored (some are chromolithographs, some are hand-colored). Half polished morocco over marbled boards. Raised bands. Gilt lettering to spines. Recently rebacked, retaining the contemporary boards. Inked name on front free endpaper of author Hoffman Birney. Occasional foxing. Some dampstaining to the edges of most pages, only occasionally intruding into the image area (none of the hand-painted bird plates show any dampstaining). The large folding map is clean and crisp. A handsome set in very good condition.

    Jenkins, in Basic Texas Books, writes that Emory's huge work was "published in two volumes bound as three large quarto volumes. Ten thousand copies were printed of the first volume, ordered to be printed on August 15, 1856, but not completed until 1857. Congress was upset by the enormous cost of the first volume, and printed only three thousand of the remaining two volumes, at a later date. Consequently, the set is only rarely found complete." This particular complete set of the report had been bound, uncharacteristically, in five volumes, perhaps by Birney. The first volume is as issued. The other four volumes are broken up into general botany; cactaceƦ; mammals and birds; reptiles and fish.

    William Emory took over the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey when his predecessor John Bartlett had been removed. It was hoped that Emory, a military man, would be more conscientious -- Bartlett was let go because his placement of the southern boundary of New Mexico eventually necessitated the Gadsden Purchase. Emory proved an excellent choice. His report is an exhaustive compendium of those new regions recently wrested from Mexico, mostly unsettled and unexplored. He and his team returned with field notes concerning the plant and animal life, the weather, geology, archeological sites, studies of the native people, recommendations for travel routes, and so on. J. Frank Dobie, in Life and Literature of the Southwest, writes that "Emory's great two-volume Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, Washington 1857 and 1859, is, aside from descriptions of borderlands and their inhabitants, a veritable encyclopedia, wonderfully illustrated, on western flora and fauna." He considers this to be the "meatiest of a number of meaty government publications."

    References: Basic Texas Books 57. Dobie, p. 86. Howes E146. Raines, p. 76. Wagner-Camp 291.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    23rd Saturday
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