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“The First Real Pictorial Representation of the Grand Canyon”—Goetzmann

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424.     MÖLLHAUSEN, [Heinrich] Balduin. Vol. I: Reisen in die Felsengebirge Nord-Amerikas bis zum Hoch-Plateau von Neu-Mexico, unternommen als Mitglied der im Auftrage der Regierung der Vereinigten Staaten ausgesandten Colorado-Expedition. Von Balduin Möllhausen. Mit 12 vom Verfasser nach der Natur aufgenommenen Landschaften und Abbildungen von Indianer-Stämmen, Thier- und Pflanzen-Bildern in Farbendruck, nebst 1 Karte. Eingeführt durch zwei Briefe Alexander von Humboldt’s in Facsimile. Erster Band. Leipzig: Hermann Costenoble, 1861 [1860]. Vol. II: Reisen…Zweiter Band. Leipzig: Otto Purfürst, [ca. 1860]. Vol. I: [i-vii] viii-xvi, [1] 2-455 [1] pp. Vol. II: [i-v] vi-ix [1], [1] 2-406 pp. 14 wood-engraved plates: 2 full color plates (Native Americans), 10 tinted plates (landscapes), 1 facsimile in black and white (Humboldt map and manuscript), and folding map: Karte der Völkerwanderung im Colorado-Gebiete nebst Angabe der Route der Colorado-Expedition zu Möllhausen’s “Reisen in die Felsengebirge Nord-Amerikas”; neat line to neat line: 14.2 x 20.9 cm (California to far West Texas, and south to Sonora and Chihuahua and north to Utah Territory, locating Native American tribes, geographical features and some place names). 2 vols. in one, 8vo (22.5 x 16 cm), contemporary three-quarter green cloth over grey and brown mottled boards, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, edges marbled in teal. Binding fine save for a few abrasions to the mottled paper, the two color plates with bleed-through on versos, intermittent foxing to text and plates (heavier on tissue guards and color frontispiece to Vol. II). Very good, complete copy.

     First edition. Braislin 1327. Farquhar, Colorado River 22: “A valuable supplement to the Ives report, including several scenes not depicted elsewhere.” Graff 2850: “The probable date of publication is 1860.” Hill (first edition), p. 764. Hill (second edition) 1176. Howell 42:49. Howes M712. Plains & Rockies IV:362:1. Rader 2419. Rittenhouse 416n (citing a small extract published in English in the Kansas Historical Quarterly—the only translation into English thus far of this important book): “Möllhausen was with the Ives’ expedition on the Colorado River in 1857-58 and returned east over the Santa Fe Trail from Santa Fe to Fort Leavenworth in 1858…. Möllhausen saw the Santa Fe Trail with an artist’s eye for details…. The full work is scarce even in German.” Sabin 49913. Spamer, Bibliography of the Grand Canyon and the Lower Colorado River 1540-1980, p. 39. Streeter Sale I:178: “Möllhausen’s narrative of Ives’s Colorado River Expedition of 1857-1858 has evidently never been published in English.” Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #1032.

     German Heinrich Balduin Möllhausen (1825-1905), author, artist and naturalist, made three trips to America, accompanying the expeditions of Prince Paul of Würtemberg, Whipple, and Ives. This book contains Möllhausen’s journal of the Ives’ expedition, which opened up the unknown Colorado River and conducted the first scientific exploration of the Grand Canyon. In 1852 the author met the great savant Alexander von Humboldt, who took him under his wing and recommended him for the Whipple expedition. Möllhausen dedicated the present work to Humboldt.

     “The narratives of personal experience written by Möllhuasen are documents of first-rate importance and the illustrations he drew to accompany them enhance their value” (Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, p. 23). The handsome plates include ruins on the Pecos, Grand Canyon, views on the Colorado River, and southwestern tribesmen. Goetzmann & Goetzmann comment on the plate of Grand Canyon (Schluchten im Hoch Plateau and Aussicht auf das Colorado-Cañon) in Vol. II, opposite p. 100 in The West of the Imagination (New York & London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1986), p. 111: “To Möllhausen must go the honor of making the first real pictorial representation of the Grand Canyon. It is a moody scene with vultures and dead trees clinging to the banks above, but it does convey the vastness of the Canyon.”


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $900.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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