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Lot 162

A Classic of Geological Literature on the Sierra Nevada
Incredible Chromolithograph Maps of the Mining Regions

162. WHITNEY, J[osiah] D[wight]. Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California [Series title: Contributions of American Geology. Vol. I]. Cambridge: University Press, John Wilson & Son, 1880. xiv,[2], 569 [1, blank] pp., 24 heliograph reproductions from photographs and drawings and plans by Carleton Watkins (3 photographs by Watkins) and J. D. Whitney, including 12 maps in the text and double-page plate of the Calaveras Skull (printed by J. Bien), plus 2 folded chromolithograph maps in envelope pocket at the rear with printed label. The two large maps in the rear pocket are: [1] Map Showing the Extent of the Hydraulic Mining Operations near Gold Run, Dutch Flat, Little York, You Bet, Chalk Bluffs, Red Dog, Hunt’s Hill, and Quaker Hill, on Bear River and Cañon, Steep Hollow and Greenhorn Creeks.... 63.5 x 90 cm; 25 x 35-3/8 inches; and [2] Map of the Tertiary Auriferous Gravel Deposits lying between the Middle Fork of the American and Middle Yuba Rivers including the Principal Hydraulic Mining Region of the State.... 2 sheets measuring overall 78.5 x 134.5 cm; 30-7/8 x 58 inches. 4to, original teal pebble cloth, spine and upper cover gilt lettered, bevelled edges, top edge gilt. Hinges a little weak, otherwise very fine and bright, unopened. The maps are absolutely pristine, with beautiful, bright coloring. It would be difficult to find a better copy of this important study.

     First edition. Farquhar, Yosemite 6n. This massive work is among the more comprehensive and detailed studies ever published on the auriferous gravels of the Sierra Nevada, its foothills and valleys. Among the plates are photographs are images of hydraulic mining, and much information is presented for the study of the environmental impact of such practices on the Sierra Nevada. Whitney provides an excellent overview of the history of gold mining in California, and all the gold mining regions at the time, such as Mariposa, Tuolumne, Dutch Flat, Grass Valley, and Nevada City. He also presents fairly extensive discussion about fossils found in various areas, including the famous Calaveras Skull. Among the conclusions to which Whitney’s research led him was that humans existed in California in pre-volcanic times. Whitney (1819-1896) was a professor of Geology at Harvard University (from 1865) and served as chief of the California Geological Survey (1860-1874). In the latter capacity, he organized the geologists and geographers who surveyed the entire state of California, including the first scientific survey of the Sierra Nevada. Whitney also published The Yosemite Book, which advocated protecting Yosemite Valley as a national park and is probably best known for his scientific feud with John Muir. ($1,500-3,000)

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