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October 26, 2007

Very Rare Hayden Survey Report by the Official Artist
Association Copy Signed by the Paleontologist of the Survey

58. [HAYDEN EXPEDITION]. UNITED STATES. GEOLOGICAL & GEOGRAPHICAL SURVEY OF THE TERRITORIES. ELLIOTT, Henry W[ood]. Profiles, Sections and Other Illustrations, Designed to Accompany the Final Report of the Chief Geologist of the Survey and Sketched under His Directions...Under Authority of the Secretary of the Interior [at head of title] Department of the Interior United States Geological Survey of the Territories F. V. Hayden, U. S. Geologist in Charge. New York: Julius Bien, 1872. [4] pp., 65 photolithograph sheets with multiple profiles per sheet, 274 images (profiles, sections, and vignettes), most folding, many signed in image “H.W.E.” and dated. 4to (30.5 x 24.5 cm), later green library buckram, title and call number lettered in gilt on spine. Ex-library, front pastedown with pictorial bookplate of Library University of Pennsylvania, Rittenhouse Orrery (call number and “cop. 2” in red ink) and “Withdrawn” stamp; charge slip affixed to front free endpaper, perforated and red withdrawn stamps on title above imprint, old call number on title verso, a few ink and pencil library notes on p. [3], including “The Cope Library”; two additional perforated stamps (Plates XXVII and LXV); small ink library stamp and small ink binder’s stamp on rear free endpaper. A very few occasional short tears to blank margins and a few leaves of plates dusty at margins. Other than the library markings and the pedestrian binding, a very good copy, the majority of plates very fine. Excellent association copy: Blank preliminary leaf with ink date and bold signature of Edw[in] D. Cope (1850-1897), paleontologist for the Hayden Survey and later antagonist in the famous Marsh-Cope “Bone Wars.” Cope and Marsh were rivals who competed to hire professional collectors to help them discover, describe, and name dinosaur bones in the West. Cope’s professional activities resulted in thousands of specimens of dinosaurs collected for study and museum exhibits. His work illuminated the Mesozoic Era, provided evidence for the theory of evolution, and established paleontology as a science with a spirit of discovery.

            First edition, advance copy, limited to 100 copies. The Prefatory Note states (p. [3]): “A small edition of one hundred copies of the Profiles and Sections are issued in advance of the text, for the purpose of placing them in the hands of the principal geologists in this country and in Europe. The first issue of two thousand copies, in colors, will be published with descriptions in about one year.” We find no evidence that a subsequent edition in color was ever printed, and it is stated of the present work in the Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909): “Originally intended to illustrate v. 4 of quarto series of reports but never thus used.” Schmeckebier, Catalogue and Index of the Publications of the Hayden, King, Powell, and Wheeler Surveys, p. 32 (#3). This report contains the bulk of Henry Wood Elliott’s art work for the Hayden Survey (see preceding entry), most of which was published nowhere else. These images are important because of their scientific contribution to several fields, historical significance, documentation of the Hayden expedition, and their beauty and attention to detail. Elliott’s illustrations were among the earliest images of many locations in the new territories of the West.

            Elliott (1846-1930), internationally recognized scientist, naturalist, early conservationist, and artist, was hired to sketch natural history subjects by the Smithsonian when only a teenager. It was in his capacity as resident artist-illustrator for the Smithsonian that Elliott was appointed in 1868 to assist the Hayden Expedition, which he accompanied, creating the illustrations in the present volume. They are not unlike miniatures in their juxtaposition of sweeping, geologically and geographically accurate vistas and exquisite minute detail. Expedition members are occasionally shown as they go about their various tasks in a calm, pure landscape. Elliott may not have paid much attention to the individual in his work, but he missed little else. Some of the details found in the images are surprising and sometimes not obvious at first glance. In some cases processions of tiny telegraph poles march across the landscape, generally lost in the vastness of the scene. In other cases, such as the views of towns and forts (Laramie City, Ogden, Fort Bridger, Fort Ellis, Fort Steele, Well Sweep Ranche, etc.), incredible details are squeezed into diminutive spaces with only a few masterful strokes of Elliott’s pen. The profiles and vignettes conclude dramatically with the Yellowstone country, including Lower Fire Hole Basin and other such scenic wonders. These are not only early images of the region, but are among some of the more unusual and delicate Yellowstone iconography one will ever see. Unfortunately this book did not receive wide attention or substantial distribution and is therefore relatively unknown. Elliott’s reputation was surpassed by other expedition members such as artist Thomas Moran and photographer William Henry Jackson (see preceding entry). However, as Hayden himself observed in the preface to the present work (p. [4]): “The spirited and accurate sketches of Mr. Elliott have been very satisfactorily reproduced by the Photolithographic process of Mr. Julius Bien, of New York.”

            Elliott is best known for saving the northern fur seal from extinction. Long before the term “endangered species” entered the popular lexicon, Elliot earned the title “Savior of the Seals.” He campaigned almost single-handedly for much of his long life to prevent the Alaskan fur seal from suffering the same fate as the buffalo. In 1872 the Smithsonian sent Elliott to the Pribilof Islands off the coast of Alaska to research the fur seal. At first Elliott believed the population to be in no danger, an opinion he held for several years. Sent later to investigate reports of large declines in the population, he became persuaded that the herd was indeed imperiled and in need of protection. Thereafter, Elliott passionately threw himself into the cause of saving the fur seal. He is remembered by some as an eccentric and by others as a towering pioneer conservationist. Unrestricted slaughter of the species did not begin to subside until the Hay-Elliott Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, which Elliott authored and which was the first international wildlife conservation treaty, ratified by Japan, Russia, China, andthe U.S. In the process of defending the seals, Elliott constantly fought against the machinations of private interests, the United States government, and foreign governments. He was engaged in his last fight when he died in 1930. ($3,000-5,000)

Sold. Hammer: $5,500.00; Price Realized: $6,462.50

Auction 21 Abstracts

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