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Stock# 101702

A Milestone Work in the Mapping of Colorado and the Transmissisippi West

Presented by Congressman Samuel Baldwin Chittenden to his Son in 1878

First edition of Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden's Geological Atlas of Colorado, a cornerstone of 19th-century cartographic and geological studies. 

Published in 1877, the atlas represents the culmination of exhaustive fieldwork conducted from 1873 to 1876, under Hayden's astute direction as the United States Geologist-in-charge. The work provides an invaluable window into the intricate geological and topographical nuances of Colorado and adjacent territories at a pivotal moment in the American West's development.

The atlas comprises a collection of beautifully printed maps and panoramic views, all executed by the noted American lithographer Julius Bien, a pioneer in chromolithography who produced an American edition of Audubon's famous Birds of America on the same scale as the original, known as the Bien edition. The topographical and geological sheets, offering a dual perspective on the region's landscape, are meticulously executed. The topographical maps, delineated on a scale of four miles to one inch, reflect the natural and man-made features of the terrain, while the geological maps, on the same scale, reveal the underlying structure and composition of the earth's crust. This duality provides a comprehensive visual narrative of Colorado's diverse physiography. The two sheets of exquisite tinted panoramic views are by William Henry Holmes. 

In his classic book, Exploration and Empire, William H. Goetzmann has written extensively on the Hayden Surveys, highlighting how the Colorado surveys brought science to the practical aid of Western settlement:

An important turning point in the history of the Hayden Surveys was reached in 1873. Shifting attention from the spectacular but overworked Yellowstone region, Hayden proposed to revert to more practical activities and focus on the promising territory of Colorado, which lay directly in the path of settlement and which in the 1870s was in the midst of a mining boom. In a letter to his superior, Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano, Hayden stated his reasons for this change.... "There is probably no portion of our continent, at the present time, which promises to yield more useful results, both of a practical and scientific character. This region seems to be unoccupied at this time, as far as I am aware, by any other survey under the Government, and the prospect of its rapid development within the next five years, by some of the most important railroads in the West. renders it very desirable that its resources be made known to the world at as early a date as possible" - Exploration and Empire, pages 515-516.

Indeed, Goetzmann praises Hayden's Colorado Atlas, calling out William Holmes's "marvelous panoramas," and declaring the atlas "better than those produced by Powell and Wheeler."

Wheat concurs, declaring "cartographically, the 1877 Atlas was the highest expression of the labors of the Hayden Survey in Colorado."

The Geological Atlas of Colorado serves as a testament to the collective efforts of eminent figures in western exploration, dramatizing the natural grandeur of the Rocky Mountain region through detailed mapping and panoramic views. The primary triangulation, a critical foundation for the maps' accuracy, was initiated by J. T. Gardner and later completed by A. D. Wilson. W. H. Holmes's role in the preparation of the colored sheets underscores the collaborative nature of the project.

The atlas includes the following mapsheets: 

  1. Triangulation Map of Colorado
  2. Drainage Map of Colorado
  3. Economic Map of Colorado [color coded: pine forests, quaking aspen groves, gold districts, silver districts, sage and bad lands, and the like]
  4. General Geological Map
  5. Northwestern Colorado and Part of Utah
  6. Northern Central Colorado
  7. Central Colorado
  8. Western Colorado and Part of Utah
  9. Southwestern Colorado and Parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah
  10. Southern Central Colorado and Part of New Mexico
  11. North-Western Colorado and Part of Utah
  12. Northern Central Colorado
  13. Central Colorado
  14. Western Colorado and Part of Utah
  15. S.W. Colorado and Parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah
  16. Southern Central Colorado and Part of New Mexico
  17. Geological Sections
  18. Geological Sections
  19. Panoramic Views: The Pike's Peak Group; View of the Sawatch Range; Central Portion of the Elk Mountains 
  20. Panoramic Views: The Twin Lakes - Lake Fork of the Arkansas, Showing the Great Moraines; South Western Border of the Mesa Verde, Showing the Sierra el Late in the Distance Looking West Across the Cañon of the Rio Mancos; The Quartzite Group - San Juan Mountains, Looking South West from the Rio Grande Pyramid; The La Plata Mountains, View Looking East From Mt. Hesperus, Showing the Trachyte Mass and Its Relations to the Surrounding Sedimentary Formations.

In sum, Hayden's atlas stands as a key visual work of the Rocky Mountain West, an example of mapmaking and scientific geology put in the service of western expansion.

It was through such works that Americans began to see the unsettled west, in the words of William Goetzmann, "not as a dreadful place to get across, but as a wonderland of nature to be lived in and enjoyed."


Likely gifted by Samuel Baldwin Chittenden Jr. (1845–1922), a prominent New York City attorney, to the Brooklyn Library, as Chittenden was a director of the library during his lifetime.

Condition Description
Elephant folio. Contemporary half morocco and cloth. Large gilt-lettered morocco label on front cover. Marbled endpapers. Joints cracked, but covers holding. Spine and corners worn. Neat 19th-century printed library label on front cover. Slight chipping to lower fore-edge corners of last four sheets. Else internally clean, with all the maps very nice. Title page and legend sheet plus 20 double-page sheets (measuring 37 by 26.5 inches), including ten chromolithographed sheets and two tinted plates. Complete. Manuscript presentation inscription on front fly leaf, from S. B. Chittenden, a U.S. Representative from New York (1873-81), to his son, S. B. Chittenden, Jr.
Wheat, Transmississippi West 1281. Schmeckebier 35.
Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden Biography

Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, known to the Sioux as "man-who-picks-up-stones-running," stands among the pantheon of eminent geologists of the 19th century.

Hayden's academic career commenced at Oberlin College, and he furthered his education at Albany Medical College, where he received his M.D. in 1853. Despite his medical training, Hayden was primarily engaged in geology, a field to which he would dedicate his life's work.

Hayden commenced his geological career with a survey in the Nebraska Territory in 1856. In 1859 and 1860, he conducted further exploratory work in the Rocky Mountains, particularly in Colorado, which was then part of the Nebraska and Kansas territories. His early work in the field earned him the respect of Native American tribes, with the Sioux reportedly dubbing him "man-who-picks-up-stones-running" due to his avid and energetic collection of geological samples during his expeditions.

By the 1860s, Hayden had risen to prominence as a geologist and was appointed the United States Geologist for the Geological Survey of the Territories. This role would define his career, leading numerous surveys in the Western United States. Notably, from 1871 to 1872, Hayden led a survey into the region that would become Yellowstone National Park, and his reports significantly contributed to the establishment of Yellowstone as the first National Park in 1872.

Hayden's most significant contribution to geological literature was the Geological Atlas of Colorado, published in 1877. This work was the result of comprehensive surveys conducted across Colorado, meticulously documenting the state's geography and geology. The atlas offered detailed maps on a scale previously unseen, encompassing not only Colorado but adjacent areas, including parts of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Hayden's influence extended to academia, as he was affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania for a period, where he held the position of professor of geology. His academic and field work combined to form a substantial body of knowledge that would be used by future scholars and explorers.

Ferdinand V. Hayden passed away on December 22, 1887, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His enduring legacy is reflected in the numerous natural features named after him, including Hayden Valley in Yellowstone and Mount Hayden in Colorado. His contributions to geology during the 19th century remain a cornerstone of American geological and geographical sciences.