United States Exploring Expedition. Set of 15 Individually Published navigation charts.

Set of 15 navigation charts by United States Exploring Expedition. During the Years 1838,1839,1840,1841,1842. Under the Command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N. Atlas of Charts. VOL. I. and VOL. II From the Surveys of the Expedition. By Authority of Congress. Philadelphia C. [onger] Sherman, printer. 1850. Vol. I., 1850 a bound issue of 55 unnumbered charts. Also sold separately.1/ Vol.II, 1858 a bound issue of 51 numbered charts.1/
G.W. Boynton, Engraver
J. Knight, Engraver
George G. Smith, Engraver
Sherman & Smith, Engraver
Not named, Engraver
black and white engravings
Professionally conserved
good conserved condition. Please see Part II. for a list of titles and specific condition descriptions for each chart.
26.5 × 19.5 inches
Sale Status: 
For Sale

Part I. A Brief History  of the U.S. Exploring Expedition.

 Part II. The 15 Navigation Charts, by Title with individual descriptions.

           I.  A Brief History of the U.S. Exploring Expedition.

Like a Homeric odyssey, the United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842), its six vessels2/, 346 man crew3/ of  scientists, artists, naval officers and other personnel commanded by then U.S. Navy Lieut. Charles Wilkes (1798-1877), set out on a four year journey that touched six continents, covered 87, 780 miles and set a circuitous course en route to mapping and exploring the islands of the South Pacific and the Pacific Ocean, the earth's largest body of water. The outcome of the squadron's journey was yet unknown. The  U.S. Ex.Ex., as it came to be known, was America's first exploring expedition funded by Congress.4/  Congress recognized that American commercial interests in the lucrative Pacific trade faced both opportunities and perils in this region due to incomplete knowledge, especially the lack of  surveys and maps to identify and chart a course to the Pacific Ocean islands, their safe harbors, coastlines, inner terrain, resources such as fresh water and hazardous coral reefs. Congress also responded to whaling interests in New England who had for a decade been a powerful advocate for Congress to finance improved charting of this dangerous sailing region. Congressional authorization in 1836 for this exploring expedition also spoke to America's identity as a new world power with the skill, hunger for knowledge and ambition to demonstrate that America was on a par with older European nations' scientific explorations. 5/

On offer is a remarkable lot of fifteen U.S. Ex.Ex. navigation charts of the South Pacific islands, America's first surveying and charting of the South Pacific. The charts were published after the expedition returned its mission fulfilled. The charts on offer in this lot sold separately, to be distinguished from those bound into the two volume Atlas of Charts (1850, 1858) from the same plates, being the expedition's  signal  American contribution to the mapping of the  Pacific Ocean and South Seas. These full size engraved charts on heavy paper were and are intended to be used for navigation. These charts are not to be confused with the small illustrations bound into the other U.S. Ex.Ex. Volumes I -XXII, or even with those illustrating Wilkes' five-volume Narrative or its bound atlas of five larger, folded maps on thin paper.

This rare to market 15-chart lot consists of 13 unique titles, and two duplicate titles that are representative of the historic mapping highlights of the U.S.ExEx:  accurate surveys of the volcanic Fiji Group6/; islands newly identified by Western surveys, new surveys of safe harbors, harbor profiles, island profiles7/; an expansive survey of the heavily traveled Sandwich Islands for the chart Map of the Hawaiian Group, or Sandwich Islands 1841 representing Hawaii's three active volcanoes and volcanic landscape and the features of the other islands in this chain8/; Island of Upolu, Samoan Group 1839, the controversial chart that triggered the U.S. Ex.Ex. squadron courts martial; and Tawara, the 1841 survey chart still unique by WWII and thus used in WWII by the American Navy and Marines to take strategic Tawara and establish an air base for the WWII Pacific air campaign.9/ Please see a more detailed description of each chart below in Part II. Description of Charts.

These nautical charts are part of a larger context. The U.S. Ex.Ex. squadron collected and prior to its return sent ahead crates of animal and plant specimens and artifacts. In 1842 the squadron arrived home  to New York City with even more flora and fauna. This trove with accompanying notes, journals, art work and other materials by 1858 became the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution. 10/ The U.S. Exploring Expedition, true to its mandate and name returned with discoveries in the natural sciences, mammals and birds, botany, mollusks and shells, corals,  ethnography and philology, geology, hydrography and physics (observations on astronomy, geography and meteorology). These scientific discoveries complement the survey and mapping mission at the heart of the 1836 Congressional authorization for the exploring expedition.

Charles Wilkes prepared the squadron specifically for mapping. He traveled to Europe in 1836 to purchase the finest available surveying instruments for the U.S.Ex.Ex. survey and charting mission. As importantly, he purchased European books and atlases of the Pacific, including Dumon d'Urville's Voyage and Atlas folio of 69 plates, Cook's reports of his three voyages, Vancouver's Voyage of Discovery and Atlas with 10 plates. 11/ He also purchased existing hydrographic charts. Wilkes drafted a surveying handbook for his naval crew to follow strictly. The U.S.Ex.Ex. surveyed 280 Pacific islands and both discovered and mapped a new continent. At Wilkes' direction, ships twice sailed south to the Antarctic and upon survey and observation determined that the Antarctic's icy body was in fact a continent and not just an ice shelf. 12/ Yet the official reception of Charles Wilkes and the squadron was tarnished by court martial trials 13/, recriminations among officers and mixed signals from the public and Capitol Hill.

A publishing odyssey of the U.S.Ex.Ex. findings ensued from 1844 to 1872, also commanded and championed by Charles Wilkes.14/ Congress established a Library Committee to which Wilkes reported over this twenty-eight year span, as he brought to fruition in manuscript twenty-four  illustrated reports of both the U.S.Ex.Ex. scientists and the hydrographic work of the squadron's naval officers.  Our subject, the set of large navigation charts sold separately,15/ along with the large bound folio Atlas of Charts, Vol.I. and Vol. II of 106 navigational charts fulfilled  Congress' 1836 mandate for a "surveying expedition" of the "Pacific ocean and South seas." to supply navigators, whalers and trading ships with reliable nautical charts.

Wilkes himself is the author of several of these reports,  beginning with Vols. I.-V, his illustrated Narrative accompanied by its Atlas of five, folded maps, one colored. 16/ The entire published body of work became twenty-one published volumes.  Congress had authorized an official edition of 100 copies of each volume although that goal was not met due to lack of funding.17/ As Wilkes' scope of work grew, Congress met his repeated requests for additional funding with scepticism, if not outright hostility. The outbreak of the U.S. Civil War ultimately caused the Congressional Library Committee to suspend its work, and afterwards only two thirds of the intended edition of 100 published and distributed. The numbered volumes appear frequently in the trade. The full scale, separately sold 1850 issue of nautical charts are rare to market and scarce in collections.18/

This massive and complex bibliographic output requires an expert guide.  The indispensable bibliographic guide to the U.S. Ex.Ex. reports, atlases, and nautical charts is by Daniel C. Haskell , New York Public Library Bibliographer, published by the NYPL in 1942 in recognition of the one hundredth anniversary of the squadron's return. 19/ Haskell is cited here as the definitive source on editions, issues and related matters except as otherwise noted. Haskell's extraordinary book collates all of the texts, atlases, legislation, correspondence and third party commentary pertaining to the United States Exploring Expedition.  He also lists extant holdings.  The Smithsonian Institution amplified Haskell's work in 2004 with an equally extraordinary undertaking  to digitize the entire U.S. Ex.Ex. bibliography and provide extensive educational materials about the exploration, the specimens the U.S. Ex.Ex. brought back now in its and national collections and the knowledge the expedition fostered. 20/The Smithsonian digital library also includes in chart form a summary of Haskell's bibliography. Yet research questions remain regarding the separately sold nautical charts.21/

The U.S. Ex.Ex. Nautical Charts on Offer: Themes and Highlights

Each of the charts in this set on offer belongs to an island group - a chain, or archipelago - formed as a result of distinct volcanic activity. This set of fifteen charts is thus a teaching tool both for America's first mapping of the South Pacific islands and to illustrate  the correct hypothesis of the U.S.Ex.Ex. "Scientifics" that the South Pacific islands were not "scattered" as often described but rather each belonged to a distinct island chain with surrounding reefs that were produced by geologic forces and shifting tectonic plates below the ocean that gave rise to volcanoes. The ocean floor beneath the oldest volcanoes experienced subsidence, or sinking to create what appears on these rare nautical charts as numerous patterns of amoeba- shaped atolls, lagoons and islands ringed by coral reefs.  The U.S.Ex.Ex. mapped both these island chains and the relationship among the chains of the South Pacific islands, documented  in the Atlas of Charts, Vol.I and sold separately.

Several graphic features distinguish the charts in this lot as individually sold nautical charts: (i) each nautical chart includes a printed oval stamp, containing within its oval frame the U.S. Navy's insignia (anchor)  and the text "US Ex.Ex." and outside the frame the words  "Price 13 Cents"; (ii)  the charts are unnumbered, as are the charts in Atlas of Charts, Vol. I. 1850 issue, and possibly certain of the charts printed prior to Atlas of Charts Vol. II 1858 issue, as the Map of the Hawaiian Group navigation chart on offer is unnumbered yet this title is bound into Vol.II of the Atlas of Charts,1858 that Haskell notes is numbered; (iii) none of these charts show any indication of being bound, and in fact have pencil notations that are typical of charts used for navigation.  In manuscript the name "BGosnold"22/ appears twice on the backs of charts, a Massachusetts family name in the maritime region where these charts were purchased and the name of an 1832 whaler out of New Bedford.

Every aspect of publishing the U.S. Ex.Ex. reports and charts, from inception to publication was overseen by Joseph Drayton, one of the two artists on the expedition, who Wilkes chose because he was familiar with Drayton's range of professional skills and the excellence of his work. The technical and aesthetic standards set by Drayton and Wilkes for U.S. Ex.Ex. publications - text, illustrations and nautical charts -  de facto became the standards of excellence for America's subsequent illustrated government reports.23/ Drayton  selected the printer, engravers, paper manufacturers and binders. He drew or reviewed and prepared for engraving many of the manuscript maps 24/ and reviewed the engraved plates. Drayton and other U.S. Ex.Ex. officers reviewed printer's proofs of these charts, made manuscript corrections and had the copper plates corrected. Hampered in printing the engraved nautical charts by the poor quality of printing paper, Drayton continued to seek good paper that would withstand the numerous steps of wetting, inking and press without distorting the surveys. 25/Drayton died in 1856 before completion of the mammoth publishing project. 26/  The U.S. Ex.Ex. reports, atlases and charts were received with critical acclaim. Within a decade they were distributed by the French and British hydrographic offices in their chart series with survey attribution to Charles Wilkes. These U.S.Ex.Ex. South Pacific charts are of more than historic interest today.          


The nautical charts on offer are art, American history and science. Then as now, these maps are also baseline studies of human settlement patterns in the Pacific islands, of Pacific island ecology and records of how the Pacific islands themselves were altered by natural geological forces. These maps deserve further attention today with reference to current altered environmental conditions such as sea water rise, shoreline changes, damage to these islands by foreign commercial or military uses as well as other circumstances.

An overarching theme of the U.S.Ex.Ex. Atlas of Charts, Vol. I and Vol.II to which these charts on offer belong is American innovation, artistry and scientific excellence in naval surveying and map making. A second theme is political: America's presence as a new world power in scientific exploration and discovery. A third and final theme is less tangible yet perhaps the most graspable, namely the American quest for knowledge and its preservation by public institutions as a legacy to future generations.

II.         Lot of 15 Charts on Offer: Alphabetical by Island Group

            Provenance of lot:  Massachusetts

Fiji Archipelago:               

Whippy Harbour South Side of  Viti Levu By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840.; Suva Harbour South Side of Viti Levu By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840.; , Granby Harbour South Side of Viti Levu By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840.;  Ndronga Harbor South Side of Viti Levu By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1840. [one sheet, four maps of different views of Viti Levu largest island of the Fiji nation]
no engraver's name
26 ½ x 19 ½ inches
paper toned, edge repair
maps show anchorage, topography, villages, areas "bare at low water" and boat passage

Island of Yendua Feejee Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840; Nucumurry Harbour West End of Vanua Levu By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840; Wallea Bay North Side of Vanua Levu By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1840. [one sheet, three island maps]
Eng by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.26 ½ x 19 ½ inches
lower edge damage repaired
pencil inscription on rev. "Navigation  Islands Feejee..."volcanic mountainous terrain shown with curved lines, observatory location noted, harbor bottom soils described, reefs outlined

Port Safety Island of Kea East End of Vanua Levu By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840.; Fawn Harbour, South Side of Vanua Levu By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840.;  Kombelau Harbour South Side of Vanua Levu By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1840.; Baino Harbour South Side of Vanua Levu By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1940. [one sheet, four views]
Engr. by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ¾ x 19 ½ inches
repaired tear in left margin, edges reinforced, paper toned.
mountainous topography drawn with concentric lines, coral reefs detailed, harbor and lagoon soil bottoms identified and numerous harbor soundings in fathoms

Harbour of Muthuata North Side of Vanua Levu, By the U.S. Ex.Ex. 1840. Tibethe & Vicuna Harbour's on the North Side of Vanua Levu by the U.S. Ex.Ex. 1840. [one sheet, two maps, two islands of Vanua Levu]
26 ½ x 19 ½ inches
detached paper chip reattached.
town of Muthuata and villages identified, two rivers shown, steep terrain drawn with contour lines, rocky atolls drawn, extensive triangular patterned depth soundings

Hawaiian Group
Map  of Hawaiian Group or Sandwich Islands By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841.
Engr by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
dimensions: 19 ½ x 27 inches
Survey of all Sandwich Islands with perimeter and topographic features: Hawaii, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Niihau; three volcanoes on Hawaii-Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Hualalai, other mountains, town names labeled, no missions or churches.
manuscript pencil charting and calculations, compass rose on face of map
surface abrasion and vertical wrinkles and puckering, repaired tear in body of map near Kauai Island, repaired tear in lower margin, a working map possibly printed on poor quality paper

Kingsmill Group (Gilbert Islands)
Taputeouea or Drummond's Island, Kingsmill Group, By The U.S. Ex.Ex.1841.Peacock's Anchorage at Drummond's Island, Kingsmill Group By The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1841. [one sheet, two island maps]
Engraved by G.W.Boynton, Boston
26 ½ x 19 1/2 inches
paper toned
Seaman John Anderson disappeared and was presumed killed by villagers on Drummond's island when a small crew went ashore. The crew returned to the Peacock to report, and a Naval crew of 87 returned with force and burned the village. The town of Utiroa
is labeled, the location where Flying Fish struck marked with "x". Peacock's Anchorage "very foul rocky bottom" and a village noted

Hudsons Island By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841,  Maraki or Matthews Island Kingsmill Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841; Maiana or Hall's Island Kingsmill Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841, Apamama or Hopper's Island Kingsmill Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841, Kuria and Nanuki Islands Kingsmill Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841. [one sheet, five maps, six islands]
Eng. by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ½ x 19 ½ inches
harbor profile Hudson's I., Maraki I., Apamama I., Maiana, harbor profile Kuria with boat landing noted and Nanouki or Henderville Is., Knoll on small island

Hudsons Island By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841.; Maraki or Mathews Island Kingsmill Group By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841.; Maiana or Halls Island Kingsmill Group By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841.; Apamama or Hopper's Island Kingsmill Group By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841; Kuria and Nanouki Islands Kingsmill Group by the U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841.[one sheet, five maps, six islands]
Eng. by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ½ x 19 ½ inches
harbor profile Hudson's I., Maraki I., Apamama I., Maiana, harbor profile Kuria with boat landing noted and Nanouki or Henderville Is., Knoll on small island
manuscript ink signature: "B. Gosnold" on reverse
small loss lower right corner and on bottom edge

Apiá or Charlotte Island  Kingsmill Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841; Tarawa or Knox Island Kingsmill Group By the U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841 [one sheet, two islands each with its own map]
Eng. by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ½ x 19 inches
Island profile, Knox I. and printed note where the Peacock touched. Flying Fish anchorage

Apiá chart shows passage through the reef to Lagoon, site where Flying Fish struck on low ebb. Note "coral bottom from 2 to 10 fathoms."

Paumotu Group

Metia Island Paumotu Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841; Taweree or St. Simeon or Resolution Island, Paumotu Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1841; Takurea or Wolconsky Island Paumotu Group, and Seagull Islands,  Paumotu Group By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841. [one sheet, 4 island maps]
Engraved by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ½ x 19 ½ inches
Metia island profile, village shown, island profile at 6 miles, other islands not settled, ink notation on back
repaired tear to right margin. Reinforced top edge.

Metia Island Paumotu Group By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841; Taweree or St. Simeon or Resolution Island Paumotu Group By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841; Takurea or Wolconsky Island Paumotu Group By The U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841, and Seagull Islands,  Paumotu Group by the U.S. Ex.Ex. 1841. [ one sheet,4 island maps]
Engraved by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ½ x 19 ½ inchesMetia island profile, village shown, island profile at 6 miles, other islands not settled
paper toned

Kawahe or Vincennes Island Paumotu Group By The U.S.Ex.Ex. 1839; Raraka Island Paumotu Group by the U.S. Ex. Ex.1839
Eng by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
20 x 27 inches
bottom edge repair
entrance to Lagoon on Kawahe, island profile Raraka Island 5 miles distant. Village noted. Entrance to Lagoon on Raraka.manuscript ink notation on reverse

Samoan Group

Island of Upolu, Samoan Group  by the U.S. Ex. Ex. 1839.
Engraved by J. Knight, Philadelphia
27 x 19 ¼  inches
Mapping of mountains and volcanoes. Bird's eye-like view of palm groves, mountains, and terrain. Island profile with detailed labeling of features and town viewed at 10 miles. "Good Boat harbour" noted. Entire perimeter of island labeled with "boat openings"

Tuamotu Archipelago

King Georges Group,  By the U.S. Ex. Ex. 1839 and Aratica or Carlshoff Island by the U.S. Ex.Ex. 1839
Engraved by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ½ x 19 ½ inches [one sheet, 2 maps, two islands]
harbor profile at 4 miles of Aratica Island, location labeled "fresh water", entrance "deep water" on Tiokea I.

Ahii and Manhii or Peacock and Wilsons Islands By The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1839
Engraved by Sherman & Smith, N.Y.
26 ½" x 19 ½" [one sheet, two maps]
harbor profile of each island 3 miles distant. entrance for small vessels labeled on Ahii, entrance for vessels labeled on Manhii.
paper curls on map surface flattened and reattached to underlayer, lighter than background after conservation


1. The Act of Congress limited the edition size of each volume in the U.S.Ex.Ex. reports to 100. Fewer than 100 copies of some volumes were printed. For the official issue of Hydrography Atlas of Charts, Vol.I., Haskell states that for the 1850 issue of Vol.I, 100 copies were printed consisting of 55 unnumbered charts, of which 30 copies were destroyed by fire. Haskell notes that in this issue charts were also sold individually. An 1858 issue of Vol. I was printed in thirty copies to replace the burned copies. These charts were numbered and the Vol. I table of contents reset. For Vol.II, Haskell states that 100 copies were printed and all charts were numbered. A table of contents lists the chart titles in each issue of each volume.

2. The squadron consisted of the Vincennes, Peacock, Porpoise, storeship Relief, Sea Gull and Flying Fish. The Sea Gull was lost at sea in 1839 near the Cape of Good Hope and all crew members died.  In 1839, the slow Relief was sent home.

3. The crews of the six vessels were recorded by Midshipman William Reynolds, cited in Stanton, p.279-280.  His accounts included the initial crew of 346, diminished, renewed, with accounts for those discharged, those who deserted or died with a cumulative record of 524 men who had participated, and recorded that 181 original crew returned to New York. Depending on the source, authors thus quote the crew size variously.

4. Act of Congress dated May 14, 1836 appropriating $150,000 to send out a surveying and exploring expedition to the "Pacific ocean and South seas..." including "other means in the control of the Navy Department not exceeding $150,000.".... The full scope of the expedition included the South Pacific, the American Northwest, Oregon and the mouth of the Columbia River, San Francisco, areas in South America, Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and other islands near China.

5. The August 26, 1842 Act provided authority and funding for publishing the reports of the expedition's discoveries  under the Joint Committee on the Library. The Act specified that the U.S. Ex.Ex.  reports would be illustrated and modeled on the French government's 1829 publication of the Astrolabe expedition to the Pacific.

Congress published a notice in the National Intelligencer March 23, 1844 requesting proposals and selected C.[onger] Sherman of Philadelphia, the low bidder as printer.

6. The U.S.Ex.Ex. Fiji charts were a source of pride and scientific accomplishment. Magnificent Voyagers, p. 178 notes that Wilkes exhibited them - possibly in manuscript.

7. Stanton states at p. 245 that at the conclusion of surveying Tawara and the other small Pacific islands the U.S.Ex.Ex. surveys had corrected the positions of ten islands on existing charts and had completed their work "with sufficient accuracy to answer all the purposes of Navigation."

8. See below, Ulukau. Hawaiian Electronic Library.          

9. Tawara was the site of a WWII battle with thousands of casualties. The island was deemed strategic by the U.S. Command for establishing the first air base in the Gilbert chain to support American forces in the Pacific campaign against Japan. The next Gilbert island airfield was on Apamama, another U.S.Ex.Ex. chart on offer.

10. For a staggering description of the whole, see the Smithsonian Libraries digital Collection article From the Ends of the Earth The United States Exploring Expedition Collections. www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/usexex/learn/Walsh-01.htm.

11. Magnificent Voyagers, p. 167.

12. Wilkes' report of the 1839-1840 discovery of a new continent, Antarctica, was not universally accepted when announced notwithstanding that the discovery was documented with surveys, reports and a nautical chart.

13. The court martial arose over allegations that one survey of Upolu Island, in the Samoan Island group was erroneous. The island was surveyed twice, early and late in the expedition, by two different U.S.Ex.Ex. naval  officers with an 8 mile discrepancy between their two surveys. The Island of Upolu chart is on offer.

14. Congressional funding acts expressly pertaining to printing charts, texts and plates ensued in 1843, 1844, 1845, 1847, 1848, 1850 twice, 1854, 1856, 1859, 1861, 1862, 1866, 1872 twice.  The June 1844 act states: "For the publication, under the direction of the Secr. of the Navy and of the Secretary of the Treasury, of such maps of the ex.ex as, in their judgment will be serviceable to the navy and the commerce of the country. $2,000..." The March 3, 1845 act includes the language "For completing the publication of the work on the Ex.Ex., including the printing of an extra number of charts,...." The language of the Congressional Acts on several occasions also specifically provides funding to replace charts lost in fires either at the publisher, bindery or in government hands.

15. The separately sold charts on heavy paper to be used for navigation, bearing a printed price stamp are from the plates used for the Atlas of Charts, Vol. I. (1850) and Vol. II (1858) to accompany Vol. XXIII, Hydrography (1861) by Charles Wilkes distributed separately in 1873.

Haskell cites correspondence dated 1844 from Wilkes to the Library Committee and Tappan, that the Atlas of Charts was ready for inspection. However, the Atlas of Charts was not printed until 1850. The separately sold charts sale dates are treated variously in the literature reviewed. Haskell seems to date first sale to 1850. Viola cites a 1845 report by Wilkes that the copper plates for large charts were 1/3 finished and  elsewhere states certain charts were published as early as that year.

16. Wilkes' five volume Narrative,  1844, official edition, was accompanied by an atlas that contained five folded charts, measuring 13.4 x 9.65 inches (34 x 24.5 cm): U.S. Ex.Ex. track Chart of the World, Chart of the Antarctic Continent, Chart of the Viti Group or Feejee Islands, Map of the Oregon Territory and Map of part of the island of Hawaii Sandwich Islands shewing craters and eruption of May and June 1840. These charts are on thin paper and bound in. The Narrative was published in an official issue distributed in 1845 and other unofficial issues. These folded, bound atlas maps on thin paper are not to be confused with the separately sold, large navigation charts on heavy paper from the plates of the Atlas of Charts, Vol.I (1850)and Vol.II.(1858) to accompany Vol.XXIII, Hydrography, 1861.

17. Congress specified in 1845 that 100 copies of each volume produced for the U.S.Ex.Ex. be distributed according to an official distribution list - to each American state and territory and to foreign governments. France, Great Britain and Russia each were to receive two sets. Other countries were also named. The Naval Lyceum , and the three commanders of the principal ships, Wilkes, Hudson and Ringgold each were allocated one set. Unallocated sets were reserved for future distribution.

In 1845, when the extent of the U.S.Ex.Ex. materials was not yet known, Wilkes and others estimated a set of fifteen volumes. To account for the growth in the number of volumes as the scope of the U.S.Ex.Ex. collections became apparent, and to replace plates, pages and books lost to fire Congressional appropriations were sought and with great effort obtained almost annually until 1872. Ultimately twenty-four manuscript volumes were put forward by Wilkes, not all of which were funded and only two-thirds of that set printed sometimes in fewer than 100 copies. The volumes were not published sequentially.

18. Few separately sold charts come to market. A complete set of such separately issued charts has not been located during this stage of research. See, the New Bedford Whaling Museum collection. Harvard University. Rumsey. More typical are assembled or original whole editions of the bound Atlas of Charts, Vol.I and Vol.II.

19. Daniel C. Haskell, The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 and Its Publications, A Bibliography, New York Public Library, New York, 1842.

Haskell's Bibliography documents what was published, distinguishing the date of actual publication from the publication date in the text and the official and unofficial issues or editions printed, and number of volumes printed. How many charts were sold separately is not stated.

    Haskell identifies the separately published, unnumbered nautical charts as associated exclusively with the 1850 issue of Atlas, VOL.I. to accompany VOL. XXIII, Hydrography. In fact, one chart on offer, the Map of the Hawaiian Group, or Sandwich Islands is unnumbered yet identified in the index of the 1858 Atlas, Vol.II  that Haskell describes as only containing numbered charts. This small but intriguing fact illustrates that the separately sold charts are hard to classify as to publication date if only with reference to the 1850 and 1858 Hydrography atlases. Haskell dates the printing of the Atlas of large folio charts on correspondence of Drayton to Wilkes in 1850 stating "...Vol.I Atlas is now printed."

20. Smithsonian Libraries, The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, digital edition, https://www.sil.si.edu/Digital Collections/usexex/learn/Overstreet-0...

21. Ehrenberg in Magnificent Voyagers, at p. 174 states that navigational charts were printed between 1843 and 1856. When all plates for the U.S.ExEx large scale charts were finished, or whether plates were used for printing as they became available, or were only used in 1850 and 1858 and whether such plates were revised in the course of their being used is documented variously but not consistently.

22. "Gosnold" is a historic Massachusetts family name from the 17th century. Bartholomew Gosnold is also the name of a bark built in Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1832. This ship sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts from 1847-1851 and later. see ShipIndex.org for further details.

23. The finely drawn illustrations for the U.S.Ex.Ex. reports by artists Drayton and Agate marry art and accuracy. Their artwork predates photography as the scientific mode of presenting natural science, culture and other disciplines of the U.S.ExEx. That Drayton also had control over the production of the art prints was essential to the fineness of the art prints. Wilkes also insisted that the engravers be of the highest level of skill. The books of art prints are also termed "atlases" of the reports.

24.The nautical charts were drawn by James Alden, William May, Frederick D. Stuart, Robt. E. Johnson and the artist Joseph Drayton. Magnificent Voyagers, p. 167. Wilkes ruled that no surveyor, draftman or artist was permitted to put his name on any of the mapping work. Final drawings were prepared by Stuart and Drayton prior to shipping the manuscript maps to the engraver to create the copper plates. These plates were used to pull proofs, that were then corrected by Wilkes and Stuart, with Drayton making small corrections on the plates and larger corrections made by the plate engraver.  In 1866, the charts' copper plates were transferred to the U.S. Navy Hydrography Office and updated as new surveys were performed. Stanton, p.365.

25. Drayton ultimately sourced quality paper from Milton, Massachusetts paper mills located either at Milton Upper or Lower Falls, the site of the first paper mill in New England. See Library of Congress and Magnificent Voyagers, p.173.

26. Drayton's legacy is a body of art and scientific literature about the world that were hitherto unknown and beyond the capacity of a single institution to manage. Drayton's art work guides generations of readers and viewers in the ongoing appreciation of the United States Exploring Expedition, its collections and its publications.



Daniel C. Haskell, The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 and Its Publications, A Bibliography
New York Public Library, New York, 1842.

Smithsonian Digital Library:
From the Ends of the Earth The United States Exploring Expedition Collections. www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/usexex/learn/Walsh-01.htm.

Smithsonian Libraries, The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, digital edition, https://www.sil.si.edu/Digital Collections/usexex/learn/Overstreet-0...

Smithsonian Collections, video of specimens collected, see https://www.c-span.org/video/?300321-1/us-exploring-expedition-1838-42-part-2

Stanton, William, The Great United States Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842
University of California Press, Berkeley and London, 1975

Ulukau,  the Hawaiian Electronic Library, Early Mapping of Hawaii, please see:

Viola, Herman J. and Margolis, Carolyn Editors, Magnificent Voyagers, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1985

Other References:

D.Graham Burnett, "Chapter 5 Hydrographic Discipline Among the Navigators, Charting an Empire of Commerce and Science in the Nineteenth Century Pacific" from James R. Akerman, Editor, Cartography and the Mastery of Empire, The Imperial Map, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 2009

Fiji Islands and U.S.Ex.Ex. first contact, please see,

Geographic Scope: 
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