CHEVALIER, Michel (1806-1879). Histoire et description des voies de communication aux États-Unis et des travaux d'art qui en dépendent. Paris: Charles Gosselin 1840-41.
2 text volumes, 4o (285 x 215 mm) and atlas folio (550 x 372 mm). Half-titles and errata leaf. (Occasional pale spotting, slightly heavier on the title-pages, volume two with some dampstaining in the upper margin.) Atlas with 19 double-page engraved maps and plans with vignettes of railroads and engineering schema. (Title-page browned, first plate parted along fold at head, partially remargined and with some tape repairs on the verso, some scattered spotting, slightly heavier on six plates, occasional light handling creases.) Text volumes bound in contemporary French tree calf, covers with single-fillet border stamped in blind, smooth spines gilt with interlocking oval roll and a central gilt fleuron, red and black morocco lettering pieces; altas folio bound in matching quarter calf, marbled boards (text volumes very clean, atlas with some wear along joints and at ends). Provenance: Felix Montet (contemporary engineer, his hand stamps "Fx. Montet Ingr.").
A FINE COPY IN A CONTEMPORARY BINDING OF THE "MOST ELABORATE EARLY FOREIGN WORK ON AMERICAN RAILROADS AND CANALS" (Howes)
When Chevalier was sent to America by the French government in 1833, he was a prominent economist endeavoring to analyze the communications routes newly being built. His work lasted nearly two years, during which time he recorded the early observations on American transportation which are here published. His Histoire contains descriptions of various railroads, canals and major bridges along the eastern seaboard, the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes regions of Canada. The maps and plans show canals and railroads in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland and technical plans detailing the structures of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad cars, Schuylkill Canal, Cornwall Canal, Patapsco Viaduct, the Aquaduct Bridge on the Potomac River at Georgetown, the Morris Canal and others. Monaghan notes that "Among his contemporaries [Chevalier] enjoyed a reputation equal to that of ... de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont. He remains one of the most important French commentators on the United States." Howes C358 ("aa"); Kress C.5134; Monaghan 425, 427; Sabin 12583. (3)