Tertiary history of the Grand Canon district, with atlas [Text]


Date: 1882



Led by Captain Clarence E. Dutton, the U.S. Geological Survey's exploration of the Grand Canyon in the early 1880s resulted in a scientific text and this stunning over-sized folio atlas, considered the greatest book by any of the government surveys of the American West. The expedition included artist/archaeologist William Henry Holmes and the artist Thomas Moran.

Dutton's early field work centered on the Colorado Plateau. Out of it came a trilogy of related studies: Report on the Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah (1880), the Tertiary History of the Grand Canon District (1882), and Mount Taylor and the Zuni Plateau (1886). His description of this erosion-sculpted terrain enshrined Dutton, along with Powell and G. K. Gilbert, into the founding pantheon of geomorphology and the "American school" of geology.

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Holmes (1846-1933) had previously been the artist/topographer on the Hayden expedition to Yellowstone and later came to the Smithsonian where he served as a curator of anthropology, the chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and ultimately the director of the collection now known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

"Most spectacularly, along with Powell, Dutton virtually defined the meaning of the Grand Canyon for American civilization. According to his biographer, Wallace Stegner, "Dutton is almost as much the genius loci of the Grand Canyon as Muir is of Yosemite. And though it is Powell's monument to which the tourists walk after dinner to watch the sunset from the South Rim, it is with Dutton's eyes, as often as not, that they see" ([1953], pp. 173-74)." (Stephen J. Pyne for ANB).

Lithographed title-page, 15 MAGNIFICENT double-page colour tinted lithographed views of the Grand Canyon, including one after Thomas Moran, based on a sketch by Holmes, and 9 after William H. Holmes plates, 11 double-page colour printed lithographed maps, and 2 uncolored maps.

Three double-page, color-tinted lithographed plates by Holmes, when set together, form the magnificent "Panorama from Point Sublime." In the bottom left corner Dutton is depicted leaning over Holmes as he sketches the view.

William Holmes; artist; 1882, Julius Bien; lithographer; 1882

Atlas in original publisher's brown cloth folio binding. (20 x 17 4/8 inches), 415mm (width), 510mm (length), 24mm (depth)

Gold stamped on front cover: United States Geological Survey. J.W. Powell Director. Atlas to accompany the Tertiary History of the Grand Canon District. Dutton


Smithsonian Libraries

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Publisher: Washington, : Govt. print. off.




David Rumsey Cartography

ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-04-08

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