Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1872-1881.

Hayden’s monumental survey of the American West, consisting of twelve annual reports, and including the map volume which was issued with the 12th annual report. Of great importance, is the fact that this is the most complete map volume that we have ever seen, with 4 additional maps. The set is sold together with Hayden’s large folio atlas “Geological and Geographical Atlas of Colorado.” In this set, the first book is the 1873 reprint which contains the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd annual reports. It is important to note that the 4th Annual Report has the cachet of bearing the bookplate “With the compliments of F. V. Hayden, U. S. Geologist.” Flake 9204. Wheat, pp. 344-349.

The volumes are good to about very good. Seven of the spines have been restored with varying amounts of the original backstrips overlaid. Five of the books have had tissue repairs or reinforcement to the hinges. Some of the spine titles are faded. The opening pages have occasional ink stamps. There are cracks in the text blocks here and there (several volumes more prominently: Twelve, Part I and Part II, due to their thickness), but most volumes remain quite sturdy. The front hinges of the 7th and 11th annual reports are broken, and the text block is pulling away from the backstrip of the 7th annual report as well. The volumes which are ex-library have often just a single library stamp. A handful of the maps have sporadic splits along the folds, and minor tape repairs. All plates and illustrations are present, with the exception of just one illustrated plate- Plate 78 in the 10th annual report. The boards of the folio atlas are moisture damaged (rear board more so) and a bit warped. Internally, other than some very faint tide lines here and there, the pages are clean and bright.

Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden (1829-1887) was a trailblazing geologist of the West and head of the United States Geographical and Geological Survey of the Territories. Howard R. Lamar notes in “The Reader’s Encyclopedia of the American West,” that early in Hayden’s career, he undertook several geological studies, which included an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate the snowy mountain barriers into the mysterious upper Yellowstone region. Lamar goes on to write, “But when, in 1867, he was appointed geologist in charge of the geological survey of Nebraska, he was launched on his life’s career. From its modest beginnings in that year he changed its name and expanded his survey into the most ambitious scientific undertaking in the American West. In 1871 and 1872 he led the first scientific parties into Yellowstone, and the subsequent publicity, along with distribution of the photographs taken by his photographer, William Henry Jackson, aided in the passage through Congress of the bill creating the Yellowstone National Park.
“From 1873 through 1876 the survey concentrated on Colorado, making an excellent atlas of the state and discovering the Mount of the Holy Cross and the cliff dwellings of the Southwest.” p. 495

Before Hayden’s survey the wonders of Yellowstone and much of the surrounding area was terra incognito and known to only a handful of trappers and a few small bands of Indians. One cannot even begin to imagine the magnitude of the subjects covered in this survey. The treatment that Hayden’s group gives the area is massive in its scope, and contains hundreds of plates, maps and graphs charting the geological features as well as the fossil record for the area. Complete sets of this survey are uncommon in any condition, much less with the most complete and definitive collection of maps in the map volume that we have ever encountered.

A set from one of the great surveyors of the American West.