Extremely rare large format map of the area around San Francisco Bay of the highest importance. At a scale of 2 miles to the inch, it is the most detailed and prolific map of the region produced to date and a landmark in the regional mapping of California.
"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.
The present example of the map is believed to have been one of a small group of uncut unjoined examples of the map which were de-accessioned by the University of California, Berkeley in the early 1980s. The map is rare in any form, with the last catalogued example of the map we have been able to locate being an example offered by the most famous California Antiquarian Bookseller of the 20th Century, John Howell Books (Catalogue 50:1625A).
Whitney's map is the first map of the Bay Area prepared from the results of the State Geological Survey, and compiled under the direction of Josiah D. Whitney. It is a truly spectacular production, illustrating the region with tremendous precision. This is apparently the third state of the map, which was first issued in 1867 and revised in 1868 and 1873. We have not been able to track any examples of the earlier states of the map being offered for sale at auction or in a dealer catalogue in the past 50 years.
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.