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Description:This large, scarce original lithograph antique map of Mississippi River Delta from Vermillion Bay Louisiana to Mobile Bay, Alabama by Alexander Dallas Bache (great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin) in 1855 - dated - was published by the official chart-maker of the United States, the office of The US Coast Survey.The Office of the Coast Survey, founded in 1807 by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of Commerce Albert Gallatin, is the oldest scientific organization in the U.S. Federal Government. Jefferson created the Survey of the Coast, as it was then called, in response to a need for accurate navigational charts of the new nation\\\'s coasts and harbors.
General Definitions:Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stablePaper color : - off whiteAge of map color: -Colors used: -General color appearance: -Paper size: - 35 1/2in x 17in (900mm x 430mm)Plate size: - 35 1/2in x 17in (900mm x 430mm)Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)
Imperfections:Margins: - Folds as issuedPlate area: - Folds as issuedVerso: - Some folds re-enforced with archival tape
Background: A very attractive example of the 1855 U.S. Coast Survey nautical chart or map of the Mississippi River Delta and environs. Centered on the fanlike river delta itself, this map extends westward as far as Marsh Island and Vermillion Bay and eastward along the Mississippi Sound as far as Mobile Bay, Alabama. The course of the Mississippi River is charted as far north as New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. Countless triangulation points are noted throughout, particularly in Cote Blanche Bay, the Mississippi River Delta, the Mississippi Sound, and Mobile Bay. The chart was produced under the supervision of A. D. Bache, one of the most influential and prolific Superintendents of the U.S. Coast Survey.
U.S. Coast Survey (Office of Coast Survey)The Office of Coast Survey is the official chart-maker of the United States. Set up in 1807, it is one of the U.S. governments oldest scientific organizations. In 1878 it was given the name of Coast and Geodetic Survey (C&GS). In 1970 it became part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).The agency was established in 1807 when President Thomas Jefferson signed the document entitled An act to provide for surveying the coasts of the United States. While the bills objective was specific—to produce nautical charts—it reflected larger issues of concern to the new nation: national boundaries, commerce, and defence.The early years were difficult. Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler, who was eventually to become the agencys first superintendent, went to England to collect scientific instruments but was unable to return through the duration of the War of 1812. After his return, he worked on a survey of the New York Harbor in 1817, but Congress stepped in to suspend the work because of tensions between civilian and military control of the agency. After several years under the control of the U.S. Army, the Survey of the Coast was reestablished in 1832, and President Andrew Jackson appointed Hassler as superintendent.The U.S. Coast Survey was a civilian agency but, from the beginning, members of the Navy and Army were detailed to service with the Survey, and Navy ships were also detailed to its use. In general, army officers worked on topographic surveys on the land and maps based on the surveys, while navy officers worked on hydrographic surveys in coastal waters.Alexander Dallas Bache, great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was the second Coast Survey superintendent. Bache was a physicist, scientist, and surveyor who established the first magnetic observatory and served as the first president of the National Academy of Sciences. Under Bache, Coast Survey quickly applied its resources to the Union cause during the Civil War. In addition to setting up additional lithographic presses to produce the thousands of charts required by the Navy and other vessels, Bache made a critical decision to send Coast Survey parties to work with blockading squadrons and armies in the field, producing hundreds of maps and charts. Bache detailed these activities in his annual reports to Congress.Coast Survey cartographer Edwin Hergesheimer created the map showing the density of the slave population in the Southern states.Bache was also one of four members of the governments Blockade Strategy Board, planning strategy to essentially strangle the South, economically and militarily. On April 16, 1861, President Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the blockade of ports from South Carolina to Texas. Baches Notes on the Coast provided valuable information for Union naval forces.Maps were of paramount importance in wartime:It is certain that accurate maps must form the basis of well-conducted military operations, and that the best time to procure them is not when an attack is impending, or when the army waits, but when there is no hindrance to, or pressure upon, the surveyors. That no coast can be effectively attacked, defended, or blockaded without accurate maps and charts, has been fully proved by the events of the last two years, if, indeed, such a proposition required practical proof.— Alexander Dallas Bache, 1862 report.Coast Survey attracted some of the best and brightest scientists and naturalists. It commissioned the naturalist Louis Agassiz to conduct the first scientific study of the Florida reef system. James McNeill Whistler, who went on to paint the iconic Whistlers Mother, was a Coast Survey engraver. The naturalist John Muir was a guide and artist on Survey of the 39th Parallel across the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah.The agencys men and women (women professionals were hired as early as 1845) led scientific and engineering activities through the decades. In 1926, they started production of aeronautical charts. During the height of the Great Depression, Coast and Geodetic Survey organized surveying parties and field offices that employed over 10,000 people, including many out-of-work engineers.In World War II, C&GS sent over 1,000 civilian members and more than half of its commissioned officers to serve as hydrographers, artillery surveyors, cartographers, army engineers, intelligence officers, and geophysicists in all theaters of the war. Civilians on the home front produced over 100 million maps and charts for the Allied Forces. Eleven members of the C&GS gave their lives during the war.Alexander Dallas Bache 1806 – 1867 was an American physicist, scientist, and surveyor who erected coastal fortifications and conducted a detailed survey to map the mid-eastern United States coastline. Originally an army engineer, he later became Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, and built it into the foremost scientific institution in the country before the Civil War.Alexander Bache was born in Philadelphia, the son of Richard Bache, Jr., and Sophia Burrell Dallas Bache. He came from a prominent family as he was the nephew of Vice-President George M. Dallas and naval hero Alexander J. Dallas. He was the grandson of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Dallas and was the great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin.Bache was a professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania from 1828 to 1841 and again from 1842 to 1843. He spent 1836–1838 in Europe on behalf of the trustees of what became Girard College; he was named president of the college after his return. Abroad, he examined European education systems, and on his return he published a valuable report. From 1839 to 1842, he served as the first president of Central High School of Philadelphia, one of the oldest public high schools in the United States.In 1843, on the death of Professor Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler, Bache was appointed superintendent of the United States Coast Survey. He convinced the United States Congress of the value of this work and, by means of the liberal aid it granted, he completed the mapping of the whole coast by a skillful division of labor and the erection of numerous observing stations. In addition, magnetic and meteorological data were collected. Bache served as head of the Coast Survey for 24 years (until his death).
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