Large format map of California of the highest importance. "Only a decade after California was admitted to the Union, the State Legislature approved funding for a wide-ranging scientific survey of the region. A major result of this was a map, which for the first time showed the lineaments of the highly varied physical geography of California and Nevada with a high degree of accuracy" -- Norman J.W. Thrower in California 49.
The different geographical regions of the state are shown in detailed, shaded relief including the Basin and Range country of the eastern interior; the southern Cascades and Klamath Knot of the north; the high Sierra Nevadas forming California's inland boundary; the almost continuous Coast Ranges with small coastal plains; the Great Valley of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers; the Transverse Ranges and Plateaus of the south; and the High and Low Deserts of the southern interior. Mount Whitney is shown, named for the surveyor of this map, which is the highest point in the contiguous 48 states. "Whitney gathered around him in California a remarkable team of field workers, including Clarence King and William Brewer who, with others, surveyed the State using triangulation... it was through this experience of surveying and mapping in California that the great Federal, post-Civil War surveys of the western interior of the United States were initiated. One of these was led by King who in 1879 became the first Director of the United States Geological Survey" -- California 49.
Josiah Dwight Whitney (November 23, 1819 – August 18, 1896) was an American geologist, professor of geology at Harvard University, and chief of the California Geological Survey (1860–1874).
Whitneyw as the foremost authority of his day on the economic geology of the U.S. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States, and the Whitney Glacier, the first confirmed glacier in the United States, on Mount Shasta, were both named after Whitney.
Born in Northampton, Massachusetts, Whitney was the oldest of 12 children. His father was Josiah Dwight Whitney (1786–1869) of the New England Dwight family. His mother was Sarah Williston (1800–1833). He was the brother of grammarian and lexicographer William Dwight Whitney (1827–1894). He was educated at a series of schools in Northampton, Plainfield, Round Hill, New Haven and Andover.
He studied chemistry, mineralogy and astronomy at Yale. After graduation in 1839, he continued to study chemistry in Philadelphia, and in 1840 he joined a geologic survey of New Hampshire as an unpaid assistant to Charles T. Jackson. In 1847, he and John Wells Foster were hired by the US Government to assist Charles T. Jackson in its survey of the Lake Superior land district of northern Michigan, which was about to become a major copper and iron mining region. When Jackson was dismissed from the survey, Foster and Whitney completed it in 1850 and the final report was published under their names.