A Selective Bibliography of Exploration
Relating to the United States
by William H. Goetzmann
University of Texas at Austin
Part III. Post Civil War Exploration
Much of the exploration of the United States after the Civil War
was undertaken by four great western surveys sponsored by the U.S.
government, i.e., those of Powell, King, Hayden and Wheeler. The best
book on this subject is Richard Bartlett, Great Surveys of the
American West, Norman, OK, 1962. But for more detail see Goetzmann,
Exploration and Empire, op. cit., and especially pp. 355-389 on
the important California Geologic Survey. Also see Thomas Manning,
Government in Science: The U.S. Geological Survey, 1867-1894, U.
of Kentucky Press, Lexington, KY, 1967.
The first of the sweeping explorations and surveys was not a federal
undertaking but a state project harkening back to the state geological
surveys in the East in the first half of the 19th Century.
For a prototype see Michele L. Aldrich, New York State Natural
History Survey, 1836-1842, Ithaca, NY, 2000, or Keene Ferguson,
Geology and Politics in Frontier Texas, 1845-1909, U. of Texas
Press, Austin, TX, 1967. The best books on The California Geological
Surveya dramatic exploration of California's Sierras, are Clarence
King, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, J.R. Osgood, Boston,
MA, 1872, repr. Frances Farquhar, NY, 1935, and Lippincott,
Philadelphia, PA, 1960. Edwin T. Brewster, Life and Letters of Josiah
Dwight Whitney, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1909, and William H.
Brewer, Up and Down in California, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven,
The "Great Surveys" begin with the army sponsored Wheeler Surveys
beginning in 1869. See Lt. George M. Wheeler, United States
Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian, Washington,
Annual Reports, 1869-1883 and Final Reports I-VII (1889) plus 14
Unclassified Publications. The only biography of Wheeler is Doris O.
Dowdy, George Montague Wheeler: the Man and the Myth, Ohio Univ.
Press, Athens, OH, 1993. This is an exposé of Wheeler more than
a biography. Clarence King's survey was confined to the western
40th parallel and was called United States Geological
Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, Annual Reports to the Secretary of
War, 8 vols., 1871-1878 and, an important 7 vols., of Final Reports
including King, Systematic Geology, plus an atlas. The best biography
of King is Thurman Wilkins, Clarence King, a Biography, revised
and enlarged, U. of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1988. But also
see Asbury Harpending, The Great Diamond Hoax, James H. Barry,
San Francisco, 1913, repr. U. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1958.
Ferdinand V. Hayden's Survey was entitled United States Geological
and Geographical Survey of the Territories, Annual Reports,
Washington, D.C. 1867-1878, and Thirteen Final Reports,
Washington, D.C. 1873-1890, plus a long series of bulletins down to
1882 and eleven "Unclassified Publications" all Washington, D.C.
1872-1877. The most important of Hayden's surveys were in 1871 and 1872
when, with a photographer and later the artist Thomas Moran he entered
and explored the Yellowstone region. William H. Jackson's photos and
Thomas Moran's paintings helped earlier lobbyists and the lobbyist, N.P.
Langford create the world's first national wilderness park. Hayden was
not the discoverer of the Yellowstone Park area. The best account of
that is N.P. (Nathaniel Pitt) Langford, The Discovery of Yellowstone
Park, 1870, NP, 1905, repr. Pb U. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE,
1972. Also see Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire, op. cit. pp.
401-406. There are two recent biographies of Hayden: Mike
Foster, Strange Genius: the Life of Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden,
Roberts Rinehart, Univ. of Colorado Press, Boulder, CO, 1994., and James
G. Cassidy, Ferdinand V. Hayden, Entrepreneur of Science, U. of
Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2000. Other books that relate to
Yellowstone are Thurman Wilkins, Thomas Moran, Artist of the
Mountains, U. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1998 and Aubrey L.
Haines, The Yellowstone Story, A History of Our First National Park,
repr. Univ. Press of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 1977. An account of
Hayden's excursion in Jackson Hole south of Yellowstone is Orrin H.
Bonney and Lorraine G. Bonney, Battle Drums and Geysers, Sage
Books the Swallow Press, Chicago, IL, 1970.
John Wesley Powell, the fourth of the "Great Survey" leaders began by
a daring expedition down the raging Colorado River in 1869. His account
which conflates his two trips down the river is John Wesley Powell,
Report Upon the Colorado River of the West and its Tributaries,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1875, repr., Dover Press, NY,
1967. A good account of Powell's second trip down the Colorado is
Frederick Dellenbaugh, A Canyon Voyage, Putnam & Sons, NY,
1908, repr., Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT, pb 1962. Powell's
exploits are recorded as Reports of the United States Geological and
Geographical Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region. They begin with
his accounts of his first two Colorado River expeditions printed as
42nd Cong., 2nd Sess., H.R. Misc. Doc. 173 and
43rd Cong., 1st Sess., H.R. Misc., Doc. No. 265,
1874 and Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and its
Tributaries, Explored in 1870, 1871 and 1872, under the direction of
the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1875,
and continue with a series of classic "Final Reports" which include his
Report on the Uinta Mountains, 1876, G.K. Gilbert's Report on
the Henry Mountains, 1880, and Powell's important Report on the
Lands of the Arid Regions of the United States: With a More Detailed
Account of the Lands of Utah, 1877. For Powell and the eventual
creation of the United States Geological Survey and the Bureau of
American Ethnology see Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire, op.
cit., pp. 530-601. The best biographies of Powell are William C.
Darrah, Powell of the Colorado, Princeton, NJ, 1962, Wallace
Stegner, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, Houghton Mifflin, Boston,
MA, 1954, and repr., Penguin, NY, 1992. And most recently, Donald
Worster, A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell,
Oxford U. Press, NY, 2001.
Part 1 |