JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 7
U.S. Western Botanical Profile of Forest Tress, 1854.
U.S. Pacific Rail Road Explorations and Survey, War Department. Botanical Profile Representing the Forest Trees along the Route Explored by A.W. Whipple…From Fort Smith to San Pedro….
Published in Washington, D.C.: 1854. Prepared by J.M. Bigelow (botanist of the Expedition), and printed by Wagner and McGuigan by lithograph in Philadelphia. 47”x21”, printed in many colors.
(Here we see a detail of a 2x3" section for the map for the San Francisco Mountains range.)
This spectacular map presents the forest trees encountered by Whipple on his expedition for the USPRR from Fort Smith (Arkansas) to San Pedro ( actually Los Angeles, California). The profile shows the trees and their leaves at the elevations encountered—actually the trees are graphically represented by either their shape or their leaves, each of which stand no more than ¼ inch tall. There is a key explanation to the tree symbols at bottom left identifying 42 different trees—including the Cereus Giganteus, which first identified only a few years earlier. There are three levels of graphical representation depicting the route containing more than 250 small images of trees. This is a charming and informative graphical display of data, and is one of the first published efforts to share this information--it certainly seems to me that this is the first representation of the elevation at which trees in the United States and territories might be found. Humboldt's map is certainly earlier, and there are occasional mentions of tree regions (worldwide and in general) that can be found in the atlas to accompany von Humboldt's Kosmos, but there is certainly nothing this large and detailed and exactly. This is just a very cool map.