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1871 U.S. Coast Survey Map of the Gulf Coast from Mobile, Alabama to Galveston, Texas


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Title:    Sketch H Showing th Progress of the Sur5vey in Section No. VIII from 1846 to 1871. / Sketch I Showing the Progress of the Survey in Section No. IX from 1848 to 1871.

Description:    An uncommon example of the 1871 U.S. Coast Survey progress and triangulation chart or map of the Gulf Coast from Mobile Bay, Alabama to Corpus Christi, Texas. essentially two maps on a single sheet, the upper map covers from Mobile Bay to Terre Bonne Bay, including the Delta of the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. The lower section continues the coast westward from Galveston Bay to Corpus Christi, inclusive of Matagorda Bay. The U.S. Coast survey began its work in this region in the late 1840s. Work progressed throughout the 1850s only to be halted in the early 1860s with the onset of the American Civil War. Following the War additional survey teams were sent to the region well into the 1860s. Progress maps of this sort were made to illustrate work of the survey and accompanied the Superintendent of the Survey's (Benjamin Pierce) annual report to Congress.

Date:    1871 (dated)

Source:    Pierce, B., Report of the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, (Washington) 1871.

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 35 in height x 22 inches in width (88.9 x 55.88 centimeters)

Condition:    Good. Typical discoloration and wear along original fold lines. Backed with archival tissue for stability.

Code:   MobiletoGalveston-uscs-1871 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 16/9/2014



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