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1855 U.S. Coast Survey Chart or Map of Washington and Oregon

(J No. 7) Reconnaissance of the Western Coast of the United States (Northern Sheet) from Umpquah River to the Boundary. - Main View

1855 U.S. Coast Survey Chart or Map of Washington and Oregon


One of the U.S. Coast Survey's most decorative maps.


(J No. 7) Reconnaissance of the Western Coast of the United States (Northern Sheet) from Umpquah River to the Boundary.
  1855 (dated)     22 x 25 in (55.88 x 63.5 cm)


One of the U.S. Coast Survey's most attractive productions, this is a rare hand colored 1855 chart of the coastline of the Pacific Northwest, including the modern day states of Washington and Oregon. The map extends from the Oregon-California border northward to Vancouver Island and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Features eight coastal views, from bottom: 'Cape Perpetua N. by w. ½ W,' 'Cape Lookout N. by W.,' Tillamook Head N. by W. ½ W.,' 'Sail Rock,' 'Destruction Island N. W.,' 'Flattery Rocks N.W. by N.,' 'Tatoosh I. North,' and 'Entrance to Columbia River, Cape Disappointment E. by N.' Features depth soundings all along the coast with various points, harbors, and lookouts well noted. Of particular interest is the detailed rendering of the Puget Sound, where Steilacoom, Olympia, and Seattle are all identified. The upper left quadrant features tidal notations and sailing instructions. The hydrography of this region was accomplished by James Alden. The geography is the work of G. Davidson. Published under the supervision of A. D. Bache for the 1855 Report of the Superintendant of the U.S. Coast Survey.


The Office of the Coast Survey (1807 - present) 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 devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were in turn 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 losing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonetheless, Hassler led 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 to 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) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA as the National Geodetic Survey. More by this mapmaker...


Report of the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, (Washington) 1855.    


Very good condition. Minor discoloration on original folds. Several minor verso repairs and reinforcements, especially at fold intersections.


Realms of Gold: A Catalogue of Maps in the Library of the American Philsosphical Society. Part II: Printed Maps - Mountain and Western States, 696: 1855: Un38urb Large. NOAA Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Collection , cgs05151.