The U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere, During the Years 1849- '50-'51-'52

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Author: Gilliss, James Melville (1811-1865) inscribed

Year: 1855, 56 and 95

Publisher: A.O.P. Nicholson

Place: Washington, DC


Volumes I, II, III, Appendix I (V) and VI of 6 volumes. xiii, [2], 556 pages with frontispiece, illustrated with a very large folding panorama of Santiago, Chile, with some hand-tinting view in color, figures, tables, color plate, four lithographic plates, 8 engraved maps & plans (4 of them folding) and index; ix, [3], 300 pages with 15 color lithographed plates of birds; 4 other color lithographed plates; 4 duotone lithographed plates; 17 steel-engraved plates of fauna and fossils, mostly fish and reptiles, figures, tables, 2 maps one folding and index; cclxxxviii+492 pages with tables and one plate; xlviii+420 pages with charts; Appendix I: xlvi+420 pages with plates and foldout plate. Volumes III, VI and Appendix I on meteorological observations. Quarto (11 1/2" x 9") in original publishers half leather with marbled boards, raised spine bands and black label with gilt lettering to spine; volume III in original decorative brown cloth with gilt-stamped vignette on the front cover and decorative blind-stamping, spine lettered in gilt; Appendix I in publisher's original green cloth with blind stamped ruled edges and gilt lettering to spine. Volume III inscribed by J M Gilliss to Lewis M Rutherfurd. House Documents 121. (Sabin 27419) (Hill: 602) First Edition.

Volumes 4 and 5, designed to contain the results of the astronomical observations, were not published. The material was published later by the U.S. Naval Observatory in its Astronomical and meteorological observations. (Washington observations) for 1868, appendix I, 1871, and Astronomical, magnetic and meteorological observations (Washington observations) for 1890, appendix I, 1895 here in contained.

Report of an illuminating expedition to Chile and Argentina, the third official U.S. exploring expedition after those of Wilkes (to the Pacific) and Lynch (to Palestine). Much more than astronomy was studied, and there are numerous reports on the flora and fauna, people, settlements, archaeology, etc., of the region. Noteworthy as well for the superb color lithograph ornithological plates, the detailed engravings of fish and reptiles, the accurate maps, and the striking, large fold-out panorama of Santiago. Volume I is devoted to Chile, with Volume II mostly on Argentina. Report of journeys across the Andes and pampas by the Argentine provinces is by Archibald McRae. Appendices on minerals by L J Smith, on Indian remains by T Ewbabnk, on Zoology and mammals by S F Baird, on birds by J Cassin, on reptiles, fishes and Crustacea by C Girad, on shells by A A Gould, on botany of dried plants by Asa Gray, botany of living plants and seeds by W D Brackenridge, paleontology fossil mammals by J Wynn and fossil shells by T A Conrad.

Lewis Morris Rutherfurd was born in Morrisania, New York to Robert Walter Rutherfurd and Sabina Morris, and was the grandson of U.S. Senator John Rutherfurd and great-grandson of Lewis Morris, the Signer of the Declaration of Independence. He graduated from Williams College, Massachusetts in 1834, then practiced law after being admitted to the bar in 1837 with William H. Seward in Auburn, New York. Lewis Rutherfurd abandoned his study of law in 1849 to dedicate his leisure to science, particularly astronomy. He performed pioneering work in spectral analysis, and experimented with celestial photography. He invented instruments for his studies, including the micrometer for measuring photographs, a machine for producing improved ruled diffraction gratings, and the first telescope designed specifically for astrophotography. Rutherfurd served as a trustee of the Columbia University from 1858 until 1884, and donated his photographs to that institution. In 1884 he was named as one of the delegates to the International Meridian Conference. He and J W Gilliss were original members of the National Academy of Sciences created in 1863, and was an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Title of volume one stained and some worming at leather edge where marbling board touch, corners bumped, rubbing to spine ends and corners, some foxing; volume two renewed spine and corners, stain at front end page gutter, some light foxing; volume three inscribed on title by Gilliss, spine ends chipped, corners bumped and rubbed; volume six spine ends chipped rubbing to extremities, marbled boards rubbed, some scuffing and chips to leather; appendix I corners bumped and rubbed, two small abrasions to cover, extremities rubbed else a good to very good set of a unique association copy.

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