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1879 Newton Map of the Black Hills, South Dakota (Gold Rush)

Map of the Black Hills of Dakota.

1879 Newton Map of the Black Hills, South Dakota (Gold Rush)


Created by a U.S. Geological Survey expedition during the height of the Black Hills Gold Rush!



Map of the Black Hills of Dakota.
  1879 (dated 1875)    30 x 36 in (76.2 x 91.44 cm)     1 : 253440


This is an 1879 Henry Newton map of the Black Hills during the height of the Black Hills Gold Rush. The Back Hills are a spectacular mountain range in the northern plains states of South Dakota and Wyoming. Per Carl Wheat, the map depicts from 102 degrees 10 minutes to 105 degrees [west longitude] and from 43 degrees 15 minutes to 45 degrees [north latitude]. Contouring is employed as the basis of the map. A note is also included below the title and scale that 'The Sioux Reservation includes all the country east of the 103rd Meridian, except that which lies between the North and South Forks of the Cheyenne River.'

From a geographical standpoint, several rivers are depicted and labeled, including both the North and South Fork of the Cheyenne River, the White River, and the Big Cheyenne River. Several peaks, such as Terry's Peak and Custer's Peak, are labeled, along with numerous buttes.

Gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874 by the Black Hills Expedition, which was led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who would later meet his end at the Battle of Little Big Horn. An expedition, led by Henry Newton and Walter P. Jenney, was sent to investigate the uncharted regions of the Black Hills by the United States Geological Survey in response to this discovery and the ensuing gold rush. Created during the height of the Black Hills Gold Rush, this map was published in an atlas which accompanied a government report titled Topographic and geological atlas of the Black Hills of Dakota to accompany the report of Henry Newton, E.M. assistant geologist.The expedition, led by Walter P. Jenney, E.M., Per Wheat, who quoted J.S. Newberry
When presented to Congress its publication would have been immediately authorized except for a selfish and heartless opposition it encountered springing from the fear that it would betray the inaccuracy of previously published descriptions of the geology of the region. [A scarcely veiled crack at F. V. Hayden.] This opposition cost Mr. Newton his life, for when Congress deferred action on his report till another session he determined to employ a part of the interval in revisiting the Black Hills, repeating some of his observations and recording the results of the rapidly-developing mining industry. While engaged in this work he was attacked by typhoid fever, and died at Deadwood, August 5, 1877.

This map was drawn by Emil Mahlo and bears the names of Walter Proctor Jenney, Henry Newton, V. T. M'Gillicuddy, and H. P. Tuttle, all of whom were members of the expedition. The map was published by Julius Bien in New York, 1879.


The United States Geological Survey (1878 - Present), aka the U.S.G.S., is a scientific agency of the United States government, which was founded in 1879. USGS scientists study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines: biology, geography, geology, and hydrology. It is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior and is the department's only scientific agency.

Joseph R. Bien was a topographer and an engineer working the later part of the 19th century. His name appears a number of state and regional atlases, including the important 1895 Atlas of New York. Most of Joseph Bien's work was published in conjunction with the New York Lithographing, Engraving & Printing Company, which was founded by Julius Bien. Joseph was almost certainly related to Julien, though whether he was a son, cousin, or brother, remains unknown.


Newton, Henry, Topographical And Geological Atlas of The Black Hills of Dakota (New York: Julien Bien) 1879.    


Very good. Verso reinforcement of centerfold separation. Blank on verso.


Wheat, C. I., Mapping of the Transmississippi West, 1540 – 1861, V: 329-31. Rumsey 2083.002. OCLC 56317221.
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