The Robert S. and Margaret A. Ames Collection of Illustrated Books

Expansion Resumed: Post Civil War Exploration

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Exploration and the Advent of Photography

Federally sponsored expeditions to the West resumed after the Civil War. Between 1867 and 1879, when the U. S. Geological Survey was established, four major expeditions set out to complete the task of surveying the topography, geology and natural resources of the west and it was their combined accomplishment that made possible large-scale Western settlement. The four "Great Surveys," as they are called, consisted of the King and Wheeler Surveys under the administration of the War Department and the Hayden and Powell expeditions under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. As the "Great Surveys" differed from their pre-Civil War antecedents in their greater inclusion of civilian specialists, particularly scientists, so too did the publications they produced--both in content and in appearance--and the greatest change was the impact of photography.

Despite their importance to the opening of the West and the scientific contributions they made, one essential difference set the publications they produced apart from those that went before---the advent of photography. While earlier forms of illustration continued to be used, photography increasingly was the dominant medium and it is for this reason that the Ames Collection does not focus on the "Great Surveys." Even so, the collection includes the Wheeler Report which includes earlier forms of illustration and the Dutton Atlas of the Grand Canyon which accompanied the Powell report and is considered to be one of the greatest examples of American chromolithography.

          

REPORT OF THE GEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION, VOL. II

ARNOLD HAGUE AND S. F. EMMONS

DESCRIPTIVE GEOLOGY

The 1870s was a transitional period in book illustration as evidenced by contrasting the King and Wheeler Reports As stated in this volume of the King Report, "The plates are reproductions of photographs taken by T. H. O'Sullivan, photographer of this exploration, which have been accurately copied, lithographed, and printed by Julius Bien of New York." The lithographs have a different appearance from earlier lithographs because they are based upon photographs rather than drawings. Still, they have the traditional look of illustrations based upon mechanical rather than photographic processes. The O'Sullivan heliotypes in the Wheeler Report (two cases to the right) clearly point to the future while the King Report's lithographs hark to the past. This lithograph, based upon an O'Sullivan photograph, includes telegraph lines, another clear sign of technological change.


Echo Canyon, Utah
          


CLARENCE KING

REPORT OF THE GEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION OF THE FORTIETH PARALLEL.....
WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, 1870-1880

VOL. I: SYSTEMATIC GEOLOGY, BY CLARENCE KING (1878)

VOL. II: DESCRIPTIVE GEOLOGY, BY ARNOLD HAGUE AND S. F. EMMONS (1877)

VOL. III: MINING INDUSTRY, BY JAMES D. HAGUE AND CLARENCE KING (1870)

VOL. IV: PALAEONTOLOGY, BY F. B. MEEK, JAMES HALL AND R. P. WHITFIELD (1877)

VOL. V: BOTANY, BY SERENO WATSON ET AL. (1871)

VOL. VI: MICROSCOPIAL PETROGRAPHY, BY FERDINAND ZIRKEL (1876)

VOL. VII: ODONTORNITHES....TOOTHED BIRD OF NORTH AMERICA, BY OTHNIEL C. MARSH (1880)

Photography by Timothy O'Sullivan; drawings by H. W. Elliott, H. M. Martin, J. H. Emmerton and F. Barger; engraving and lithography by Julius Bien and E. Crisand

Gift of the Office of the Chief of Engineers


Placer Mining by the Hydraulic Method, Michigan City

The seven volumes of the King expedition Report, which documented the exploration of a 100 mile wide strip along the 40th parallel from eastern Colorado to California, set the standard for the other three "Great Surveys," as the four came to be known. King's scope, if not his narrative and organizational skills, were adopted by the reports of the Hayden, Wheeler and, to some extent, Powell expeditions, which were to follow shortly thereafter. With their overlapping jurisdictions and resulting rivalry, the "Great Surveys" were discontinued by Congress in 1879 with the establishment of a single agency, the United States Geological Survey. King, an able administrator, was the first Director of the U.S.G.S., which continues to function today.

A Yale graduate, King staffed his expeditionary force with highly trained civilian specialists, most of them young and many of whom subsequently became leading experts in their fields (including William Whitman Bailey, a Brown alumnus and later Professor of Botany at Brown). The individual contributions of these men introduced to the U.S. the new science of micro-petrology, provided valuable data for the mining industry that remained relevant well into the 20th century, and made notable advances in paleontology, zoology, botany and topography.


          


Lupinus Brevicaulis and Lupinus Uncialis
REPORT OF THE GEOLOGICAL EXPLORATION, VOL. V

SERENO WATSON, ET AL.

BOTANY


Ames Collection

The use of traditional engraving and lithography continued to be used in the "Great Surveys" especially for the exacting reproductions of scientific specimens brought back to Washington from the various expeditions. Responding to changes in technology, the firm of Julius Bein produced both the traditional and the photographically-based plates.


          

1867 DIARY AND DRAWINGS OF WILLIAM WHITMAN BAILEY

Brown University Archives

One of the major innovations of the King expedition centered upon the fact that it was essentially a civilian effort, though with government funding. Among the civilian specialists chosen was William Whitman Bailey, Brown class of 1864 and Professor of Botany from 1877 to 1906, who was recommended for the expedition post in botany by family friend Asa Gray. Although ill health forced Bailey to leave the expedition in under a year, his unpublished diary and drawings provide fresh insight into the King expedition. The diary and drawings shown here depict scenes of, and specimens taken in, Nevada.

          

William Whitman Bailey Drawings
made while on expedition in Nevada

          

ALS FROM WILLIAM H. BREWER TO CLARENCE KING, DEC. 24, 1878

John Hay Papers
Gift of the Hay Family

Clarence King, a member of a prominent Newport family, exhibited his wanderlust early. Upon graduating from Yale at age 20, he traveled to the West where he remained for the most part until he went to Washington to head the U.S. Geological Survey. A man of great personal charm, King enjoyed many close friendships with the influential intelligentsia of his day. His closest friends were Henry and "Clover" Adams and John and Clara Hay; together they formed an exclusive clique known as The Five of Hearts and the Hays named one their sons Clarence in King's honor. The Hay-King friendship resulted in a portion of King's papers being subsumed within Hay's own papers at Brown, including a group of over 80 letters and documents acknowledging receipt of, and often commenting upon, the Fortieth Parallel Report. Probably none pleased King more than this letter from his old friend William H. Brewer, an eminent agriculturist at Yale who congratulated King upon "a work so generally and rightly recognized among scientific men as the greatest which this country has yet produced in this direction....my honest conviction is that you are the only person in the country who could have done it."

          

GEORGE M. WHEELER

REPORT OF THE UNITED STATES GEOGRAPHICAL SURVEYS WEST OF THE 100TH MERIDIAN

WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, 1875-1889

VOL. I: GEOGRAPHICAL REPORT BY GEORGE M. WHEELER, 1889

VOL.II: ASTRONOMY BY JOHN H. CLARK, F. KAMPF ET AL., 1877

VOL. III: GEOLOGY BY J.J. STEPHENSON AND C.A. WHITE, 1875

VOL. 1V: PALEONTOLOGY--BY CHARLES WHITE AND E. D. COPE, 1877

VOL. V: ZOOLOGY BY H.C. YARROW ET AL., 1875

VOL. VI: BOTANY BY J.T. ROTHROCK ET AL., 1878

VOL. VII: ARCHAEOLOGY BY FREDERICK W. PUTNAM ET AL., 1879

Photography by Timothy O'Sullivan; drawings by George D. Clarke, H.M. Martin, C.K. Worthen, J.C. McConnell, R. J. Morgan, Robert Ridgway, W.H. Seaman et al.; maps by Weyss and Thompson and Weyss and Lang; lithography by Sinclair and Son, Julius Bien, The Graphic Co.; heliotypes by The Heliotype Printing Co.

Ames Collection

Because of their reliance upon photography, the Ames Collection does not focus on the "Great Surveys," a notable exception being the Wheeler Report, included because of the high quality of its illustrations and the fact that it encompasses virtually all illustration techniques of the day--from woodcuts and wood and steel engravings, to lithography, chromolithogray, to the photographic process of heliotype.

          
REPORT OF THE.....SURVEYS WEST OF THE 100TH MERIDIAN VOL. VII

FREDERICK PUTNAM ET AL.

ARCHAEOLOGY

Ames Collection

Unlike King, George M. Wheeler to some degree resembled earlier expedition leaders in that he was a career army man. He was of a younger generation however, having graduated from West Point in 1866. He went to California and Nevada upon graduating, where he was engaged in surveying work until 1871, when he suggested to his superiors in Washington that the army undertake a general survey throughout the West. His idea was given serious attention by the War Department which was keenly aware that this traditional peacetime army activity had been usurped by civilians such as King, who, it was believed, emphasized geology and other scientific enterprises at the expense of more practical infrastructure issues critical to settlement and security--roads, farms, towns, dams, etc.


Ruins in the Canyon de Chelly, New Mexico

Wheeler's idea was accepted and he was put in charge of an expedition whose initial objective was the topographic mapping of all those vast and little known areas that remained unexplored to the west of the 100th meridian, an area comprising deserts, mountains, high plateaux and increasingly hostile Indians. Gradually the scope of the expedition expanded to include, like the other "Great Surveys," geology, zoology, ethnology, etc. The field work lasted from 1871 to 1879, when the newly established U. S. Geological Survey took over its work. Despite the officers and enlisted men in his expedition, Wheeler also employed a significant number of civilians, including Timothy O'Sullivan, who was borrowed from the King survey. It was on the Wheeler expedition that O'Sullivan made some of his most famous photographs, those of Canyon de Chelly.

          

REPORT OF THE SURVEYS.....WEST OF THE 100TH MERIDIAN, VOL. V

H.C. YARROW ET AL.

ZOOLOGY

Ames Collection

The Wheeler Report was truly a melding of old and new illustration technologies. Heliotypes gave an immediacy to the field reports that the most beautiful lithograph could not impart while the precision of engraving and lithography remained important for documenting specimens such as these butterflies.




Argynnis Nokomis

          


Water basin in Gypsum Canyon
J. W. POWELL

EXPLORATION OF THE COLORADO RIVER OF THE WEST AND ITS TRIBUTARIES, EXPLORED IN 1869, 1870, 1871, AND 1872


WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, 1875

Drawings by Thomas Moran; photography by John K. Hillers, E. O. Beaman et al.; engravings by H. H. Nicols, R. A. Muller, F. S. King et al.

Gift of Frederick S. Peck

In the late 1860s. Powell, a Midwesterner, was serving as Lecturer and Curator of the Museum at Illinois Normal University. While holding this position he organized groups of students and amateur naturalists which crossed the plains to the Colorado mountains, General Grant providing troops for protection against Indians. These excursions led to funding from the Smithsonian, and in 1869 Powell made his first official exploration of the West, the expeditions continuing into the next decade. In 1875, Powell was appointed director of the second division of the Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, a position he retained until all surveys were subsumed under the U. S. Geological Survey in 1879. When Clarence King resigned as Director of the U.S.G.S., Powell succeeded him and remained Director until 1894.


          
J. W. POWELL

CANYONS OF THE COLORADO

MEADVILLE, PA.: FLOOD & VINCENT, 1895

Gift of the Children of William Torrey Harris

Both Powell's achievement in the field and the Exploration, the official record of his expeditions, were more modest than those of the other "Great Surveys," the reason likely being the more modest financial resources of the Smithsonian Institution. However, by the 1870s, other means of dissemination were available and popularized accounts of Western exploration were quite common, as indicated by the serialization of the Powell expeditions in three consecutive issues of Scribner's Monthly. Additionally, an expanded version, published under the title Canyons of the Colorado, appeared under a commercial imprint in 1895; with six new chapters, Canyons of the Colorado included many new images, including, for the first time, actual photographic images made of the expeditions.

 



General view of Zuni, looking west.

The 1875 Exploration is illustrated with wood engravings exclusively, taken from both photographs and drawings, again perhaps a sign of a tight budget. However, the drawings were by Thomas Moran, whose engravings and vast painted canvases produced upon his return from the West popularized the Grand Canyon and created indelible images of the history and myth of the American West.

Shown here are the 1875 official Exploration with a wood engraving after Moran and the 1895 Canyons of the Colorado with a photograph of a Zuni pueblo.

          


The Grand Canyon at the foot of the Toroweap, looking west.
CLARENCE E. DUTTON

ATLAS TO ACCOMPANY THE MONOGRAPH ON THE TERTIARY HISTORY OF THE GRAND CANON DISTRICT

WASHINGTON: DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR, UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, 1882

Drawings by William H. Holmes and Thomas Moran; maps by J. H. Renshawe, George M. Wheeler, Sumner Bodfish; lithography by Julius Bien

Ames Collection

Powell's greatest accomplishment may be his able administration of the U.S. Geological Survey for over twenty five years. One of his most significant successes, from an artistic and scientific viewpoint, was the second report sponsored by the U.S.G.S, Clarence Dutton's Tertiary History of the Grand Canyon District, published in 1882.

Dutton was a Yale-educated army Captain who had a keen interest in geology and paleontology. He asked to be placed on special duty with Powell while the latter was still exploring the West and beginning in 1875, Dutton began his fifteen year career association with Powell and the U.S.G.S. The Tertiary History, along with his 1880 Report on the Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah, established Dutton as one of the abler, and more literary, of the post "Great Survey" explorers.

Even greater than Dutton's contribution, from an esthetic standpoint, is the great Atlas that accompanied the Tertiary History. The art work of Thomas Moran and especially that of William H. Homes, who provided the greater number of illustrations, led to the creation of one of the greatest of all government publications and a triumph of chomolithographic technique.



Grand Canyon

Holmes was a self-taught ethnologist and anthropologist who rose to the top of his profession as director of the Bureau of American Ethnology, a participant in pioneering expeditions to the Mayan ruins of Mexico, and the first Director of the Field Museum in Chicago. Despite these accomplishments, Holmes' first love was art, which he studied seriously as a young man, and his talent led to his inclusion as a panoramic artist on the "Great Survey" expedition of F.V. Hayden to Yellowstone. In the course of his work, Holmes became a competent geologist, a fact that distinguishes his illustrations in the later Tertiary History Atlas; while Moran's panoramas were perhaps more painterly, Holmes' were more accurate.

As noted in Ron Tyler's Prints of the West, the late date (1882) for the use of such elaborate chromolithogaphy is due to the fact that no camera was yet capable of depicting both the sweep of the panorama and the detail that an artist/geologist of Holmes' skill could capture. Other authorities concur with Tyler, Wallace Stegner stating that Holmes' illustrations of the Grand Canyon were "the highest point to which geological or topographical illustration ever reached in this country."


          

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