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2007 Catalog > 67. Tyson, Geological Reconnoissances in California.


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67. Philip T. Tyson. “Geological Reconnoissances in California” (Washington, D.C.: 1850). Published in Report of the Secretary of War, in further compliance with the resolution of the Senate calling for copies of reports on the geology and topography of California, June 11, 1850 (Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 47, part II, 31st Cong., 1st sess., 1850). Lithographed folding map in black and white, as issued. 11 1/2 x 14 5/8" at neat line. Sheet size: 12 x 16". Faint toning at old folds; upper and lower margins unevenly trimmed. Fine.

Price: SOLD

Philip Tyson’s 1850 report to the Senate on the geology and topography of California was probably the earliest work of a true scientific nature to emerge from the Gold Rush. It contained a detailed account of the mines and mineral resources as well as the official reports of several government survey expeditions of the region. Wheat calls the report “an important milestone” and comments on present map, one of three important ones published in the report: “The map of Tyson’s tour of the gold-bearing area takes his party from Benicia to the Yuba diggings, thence south through the foothills as far as the Calaveras River. It constitutes a highly interesting record of a personal examination, with careful speculation of the points where gold was actually being found at the time of its author’s visit. The report was reprinted in Baltimore in 1851, under the title ‘Geology and Industrial Resources of California.’”

Tyson presented an astute analysis to the Senate on the present and future impact of the discovery of gold in California. He correctly observed that in a year or two all surface gold would be exhausted and that most prospectors would become miners working for moderate wages. His map of geological resources is an excellent summary of his research on the California gold fields.

Refs.: Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region, no. 179; Wheat, 25 California Maps, no. 10.

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