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1865 U.S. Coast Survey Map or Chart of Providence, Rhode Island


Port of Providence Rhode Island.
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Price: $150.00
Title:    Port of Providence Rhode Island.

Description:    An attractive example of the 1865 U.S. Coast Survey map or nautical chart of the Port of Providence. Covers part of Narragansett Bay from Starvegoat Island north to Providence and the mouth of the Seekonk River. Today Starvegoat Island and the adjacent Oyster Beds have been filled in by a c. 1950s land reclamation project. Offers a wealth of practical information for the navigator ranging from depth soundings, to notes on tides, lighthouses, and shoals. The hand color work on this beautiful map is exceptionally well done. The triangulation for this chart was accomplished by E. Blunt. The Topography is the work of A. M. Harrison. The Hydrography was completed by a party under the command of F. P. Webber. Compiled under the direction of A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the Survey of the Coast of the United States and one of the most influential American cartographers of the 19th century.

Date:    1865 (dated)

Source:    Report of the Superintendant of the United States Coast Survey, Washington, (1865 edition).    

Cartographer:    The Office of the Coast Survey, founded in 1807 by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of Commerce Albert Gallatin, is the oldest scientific organization in the U.S. Federal Government. Jefferson created the "Survey of the Coast," as it was then called, in response to a need for accurate navigational charts of the new nation's coasts and harbors. The spirit of the Coast Survey was defined by its first two superintendents. The first superintendent of the Coast Survey was Swiss immigrant and West Point mathematics professor Ferdinand Hassler. Under the direction of Hassler, from 1816 to 1843, the ideological and scientific foundations for the Coast Survey were established. These included using the most advanced techniques and most sophisticated equipment as well as an unstinting attention to detail. Hassler's devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were intern subdivided into smaller triangulation units that were then individually surveyed. Employing this exacting technique on such a massive scale had never before been attempted. Consequently Hassler and the Coast Survey under him developed a reputation for uncompromising dedication to the principles of accuracy and excellence. Unfortunately, despite being a masterful surveyor, Hassler was abrasive and politically unpopular, twice loosing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonethelss, Hassler lead the Coast Survey until his death in 1843, at which time Alexander Dallas Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, took the helm. Bache was fully dedicated to the principles established by Hassler, but proved more politically astute and successfully lobbied Congress liberally fund the endeavor. Under the leadership of A. D. Bache, the Coast Survey completed its most important work. Moreover, during his long tenure with the Coast Survey, from 1843 to 1865, Bache was a steadfast advocate of American science and navigation and in fact founded the American Academy of Sciences. Bache was succeeded by Benjamin Pierce who ran the Survey from 1867 to 1874. Pierce was in turn succeeded by Carlile Pollock Patterson who was Superintendent from 1874 to 1881. In 1878, under Patterson's superintendence, the U.S. Coast Survey was reorganized as the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (C & GS or USGS) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA. Click here for a list of rare maps from the U. S. Coast Survey.

Size:   Printed area measures 15.5 x 19.5 inches (39.37 x 49.53 centimeters)

Condition:    Very good. Minor wear, toning, and verso reinforcement on some of the original fold lines. Closed and repaired tear extending from left center margin about 4 inches into the map. Blank on verso.

Code:   ProvidencePort-uscs-1865 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)


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