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Lot 145

“Probably the earliest work of a true scientific research to emerge from the Gold Rush”—Wheat
Author’s presentation copy to Abert

145. TYSON, Philip Thomas. Geology and Industrial Resources of California: By Philip T. Tyson. To Which is Added, the Official Reports of Genls. Persifer F. Smith and B. Riley—including the Reports of Lieuts. Talbot, Ord, Derby and Williamson, of Their Explorations in California and Oregon; and also of Their Examinations of Routes for Rail Road Communication Eastward from those Countries. Baltimore: Published by Wm. Minifie & Co. 114 Baltimore Street, 1851. [Part I]: xxxiv (introduction), 127 [1, blank] pp., 11 maps; [Part II]: 37 [3, blank] pp., 1 map. Total: 12 lithograph folded maps. 8vo, original blindstamped black cloth, spine gilt lettered: GEOLOGY AND RESOURS OF CALIFORA. Light shelf wear, minor chipping to spine extremities, large folding map at front with light foxing and small tear at text block (no losses), some leaves of text lightly browned (due to paper quality), overall a very fine copy. Author’s signed penciled presentation inscription on front fly leaf to Col. J. J. Abert’s, with the latter’s ink ownership inscription on front pastedown. Abert (1788-1863), outstanding army officer, served in various capacities in the Topographical Bureau and War Department. “From 1834 to 1861 as chief of the bureau he was responsible for initiating and guiding the topographical surveys of the American West, and the work of the topographical engineers. Thus Abert had an inescapable impact upon the frontier and the nation’s evershifting borders, from east of the great rivers to the Pacific coast, and from border to border” (Thrapp).

Map List

[1] [Title enclosed in circle] The Sacramento Valley from the American River to Butte Creek. Surveyed & Drawn by Order of Genl. Riley, commandg. 10th. Military Dept. by Lieut: Derby, Topl. Engrs. September & October 1849. 55.7 x 43.7 cm; 22 x 17-1/8 inches. Cf. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region #149, pp. xxxvii-xviii: “Of major importance.” This map was created by Lieutenant George H. Derby, who although best known for his humorous writings under the pseudonyms of John Phoenix and Squibob, served with distinction as a topographical engineer with the U.S. Army, creating this important map of the California gold regions and performing the first reconnaissance of the Colorado River.

[2] Geological Reconnaissances in California. 29.8 x 37.8 cm; 11-5/8 x 14-7/8 inches. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 179n. Wheat, Twenty-Five Maps California Maps 10n.

[3] Pl. I. Geological Section from Bodega Bay to the Sierra Nevada; about N. 80° E. 12.8 x 88 cm; 5 x 34-5/8 inches.

[4] Pl. II. Geological Section from San Francisco to the Sierra Nevada about N. 70° E. 12.7 x 90.5 cm; 4-7/8 x 35-5/8 inches.

[5] Pl. III. Geological Sections in the Gold Region of the Sierra Nevada. 11.4 x 25.5 cm; 4-3/8 x 10 inches.

[6] Pl. IV. Geological Section in the Gold Region from the Yuba to Coloma about S. 40° E. 12.6 x 39.5 cm; 4-7/8 x 15-1/2 inches.

[7] Pl. V. Geological Section in the Gold Region from the Cosumes [sic] to the Calaveras about S.S.E. 10.6 x 29.6 cm; 4-1/8 x 11-5/8 inches.

[8] Pl. VI. Section of a Valley. 16.9 x 13 cm; 6-5/8 x 5-1/8 inches. 2 views on one plate.

[9] Pl. VII. Survey of Public Lands in the Gold Region. 20 x 21 cm; 7-7/8 x 8-1/4 inches.

[10] Pl. VIII. Geological Section at Bodega Point above E. 12.7 x 22.7 cm; 5 x 8-5/8 inches.

[11] Pl. IX. Natural Cross Section in Veins of Gold Bearing Quartz. 10.7 x 25.3 cm; 4-1/8 x 9-7/8 inches.

[12] Sketch of the Route of Capt. Warner’s Exploring Party in the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada. During the Months of August, September, and October, 1849 By R.S. Williamson, Lieut. Top. Engrs Assistant to Capt. Warner. 58.8 x 26.8 cm (23-1/8 x 10-1/2 inches). Cf. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region 182: “This map does not show the gold region, as such. On it, however, is marked the spot, east of Goose Lake, where Capt. Warner was killed by Indians on September 26, 1849.”

     Second and best edition, with added 34-page introduction (“Geology and Industrial Resources of California”), errata, index, and table of contents, otherwise the maps and sheets are the same as the first edition (31st Congress, 1st Session, Senate Executive Document 47, 1850).Braislin 1808. Cowan I, p. 235. Cowan II, p. 648. Howes T455. Huntington Sale 1698: “The most important work relating to California that had up to this time appeared. It contains a minute account of the mines and mineral resources in general, lands, land titles, routes, etc. Also the official reports of Generals P. F. Smith, and B. Riley, Lieuts. Talbot, Ord, Derby and Williamson, of their explorations in California and Oregon.” Norris 4039. Sabin 97652. Vail, Gold Fever, p. 25. Wheat, Books of the California Gold Rush 212n: “Its author was a gifted scientist whose pioneering effort was of considerable value.”

     Cf. Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Rush, 149, 179, 182 & p. xxix . Wheat, “Twenty-Five California Maps” 10 (citing the second map above): “Tyson’s geological report on California and its mines of gold was an important milestone, representing the earliest fairly detailed study of the region by a trained geologist. The map of Tyson’s tour of the gold-bearing area takes his party from Benicia to the Yuba diggings, thence south through the foothills as far as the Calaveras River. It constitutes a highly interesting record of a personal examination, with careful specification of the points where gold was actually being found at the time of its author’s visit.”

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 643b:

Philip Tyson based this memoir on his personal observations of California during the summer and early fall of 1849. Tyson dated the report February 20, 1850. Wheat noted that this was “probably the earliest work of a true scientific research to emerge from the Gold Rush.” Tyson, in his report, described his visits to the “canvass” city of Sacramento, Mormon Island, Coloma, Jackson and Sutter’s Creek, and the general region of the Cosumnes and Mokelumne rivers. He was probably one of the first to realize that the Argonauts could have made more money by staying at home, and criticized newspaper reports as exaggerated.

      The Senate ordered 5,000 copies printed, of which 1,000 were for Tyson’s use. Tyson proceeded to add a new title page, an errata page, and an extensive introduction dated Baltimore, November 10, 1850. Tyson also renumbered the government-printed text portions in brackets. The purpose of this separate edition, as stated in the introduction (p. xvi), “is to call attention to some of the views expressed in the Report, to point out confirmations thereof by subsequent events, and to notice a few of the erroneous impressions that have been formed by newspaper writers and others in reference to California.”


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