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Report upon United States Geographical & Geological Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian, in charge of First Lieut. Geo. M. Wheeler, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army...

plates drawn principally by R. Ridgway
lithography by T. Sinclair & Son of Philadelphia

Color lithographs with some hand finishing • Titles mostly Latin
Sheet size: approximately 8.75 x 11.75 inches (22.5 x 30 cm)

Scope and Content

The geographical surveys west of the 100th meridian of the United States operated under a general plan issued by the Chief of Engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and were under the supervision of First Lieutenant (later Captain) George M. Wheeler. The first expedition took place in 1869; the last in 1879. According to the general plan, Wheeler's main objective was to survey the parts of the U.S. territory lying south of the Central Pacific Railroad in order to obtain correct topographical knowledge and prepare maps of the region. In addition he was to ascertain everything related to the physical features of the region; discover the numbers, habits, and disposition of Indians in the section; select sites for future military installations; determine facilities available for making rail or common roads; and note mineral resources, climate, geology, vegetation, water sources, and agricultural potential.

USPRR Plates: In the 1850s the United States Army conducted extensive surveys to ascertain the best route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast. The final reports consist of 13 quarto volumes with hundreds of full page lithographs and numerous maps. The itineraries of the field parties, together with the illustrations, gave Americans their first comprehensive descriptions of the West. Spencer Fullerton Baird, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, arranged for naturalists to accompany the field parties. A wealth of biological material was obtained and the greater portion of the reports is devoted to descriptions of the plants and animals (mainly vertebrates) found in this vast region. Below are some of the birds.

Please click on thumbnails below for a better look at each print.
(NOTE: the entire image does not fit on the scanner)

The digital watermark on images deters image theft
and does not appear on actual print.

Plate 1
Plate I

Thyrothorus Bewicki
(Bewick's Wren?)

Cotuurniculus Passerinus
(Western yellow-winged Sparrow?)

(tear in lower margin below title,
original paint smears?)

III Tanager
Plate III

Pyranga Aestiva var. Cooperi
(Cooper's Tanager?)

(light smears/foxing in lower right corner)

IV Goldfinches
Plate IV

Chrysomitris Psaltria var. Arizonae
(Arizona Goldfinch)

Chrysomitris Psaltria

(light smear/foxing above title)

Brown-capped rosy finch male
Plate V

Leucosticte Australis
(Brown-capped Rosy Finch, male)


VI rosy finch female
Plate VI

Leucosticte Australis
(Brown-capped Rosy Finch, female)


White-crowned Sparrow
Plate VII

Zonotrichia Leucophrys, var. Cambeli, Ad.
(Ridgway's Sparrow?)

Zonotrichia Leucophrys, var. Intermedia, Ad.
(White-crowned Sparrow?)


Plate XIII

Perisoreus Canadensis
var. Capitalis ad.
(Rocky Mountain Grey Jay?)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Plate XIV

Myiodynastes Luteiventrius, male
(Yellow-bellied Flycatcher?)

IX Junco
Plate IX

Junco Cinereus, male
(Arizona Junco or Red-backed Junco?)


Arizona jay
Plate XII

Cyanocitta Ultramarin, var. Arizonae ad.
(Arizona Jay?)

Arizona jay
Plate XL

Trogon Mexicanus
(Mexican Trogon)

(plate in poor condition--see enlargement)


The plates below are from Reports of Explorations and Surveys, To Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River To The Pacific Ocean [known more commonly as the U.S.P.R.R.] published by the U.S. Government circa 1859

Click here for more information about the USPRR

Original 150-plus-year-old color lithographs
Sheet size: approximately 8 1/2 x 11 3/8 inches

XXI crow detail
Plate XXI

38th, 39th, 41st Parallels
(unidentified Crow/Blackbird with detail of wings and foot)


XXIII crow

47th Parallel
(unidentified Crow/Blackbird with detail of wings and foot)

XXIV crow
Plate XXIV

47th Parallel
(unidentified Crow/Blackbird with detail of wings and foot)


XXV crow
Plate XXV

38th, 39th, 41st Parallels
(unidentified Crow/Blackbird with detail of wings and foot)


Cal/Or crow
Plate XXVI

California & Oregon
(unidentified Crow/Blackbird with detail of wings and foot)


Williamson's Sapsucker

32th Parallel (East)

no title
(Williamson's Sapsucker) [woodpecker]


Florida Crow, Fish Crow

Birds of North America

Corvus Floridanus
(Florida Crow)

Corvus Ossifragus
(Fish Crow)


XXV crow

United States & Mexican Boundary

Quiscalus Macrourus
(Long-tailed Grackle?)

note: damp staining around edges


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