HAYDEN, Ferdinand V. (1829-1887). The Yellowstone National Park, and the Mountain Regions of Portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. Boston: Louis Prang, 1876.
2o (546 x 451 mm). Title-page, preface, contents leaf and 13 page introduction. 15 chromolithographic plates by Thomas Moran mounted on card (each 248 x 356 mm, or vice versa) and 2 lithographic maps. (Title lightly soiled, a few tape repairs to tissue guards, final text leaf and terminal blanks with marginal dampstaining.) Red buckram gilt, title gilt-lettered on cover, gilt-lettered on spine (a bit rubbed). Provenance: Fall River Public Library (pocket at back).
FIRST EDITION OF "ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS AMERICAN COLOR PLATE BOOKS, AND THE GREATEST AMERICAN LANDSCAPE BOOK OF THE POST-CIVIL WAR ERA" (Reese). Thomas Moran's chromolithographs rank among the finest ever produced, dramatically capturing the natural beauty of Yellowstone. Hayden, who headed the United States Geological Survey during its investigations of the mountain regions of the West, employed Moran as artist to the exhibition. Moran's watercolors represent some of the earliest views made of the spectacular scenery of the then-unknown region and, along with the photographs of William Henry Jackson, who was the official photographer of the Geological Survey under Hayden, helped define the American West for the public. The images and official reports were instrumental in gaining public support for the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Moran journeyed further with the survey, recording views in Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. Among these is "The Mount of the Holy Cross," which was inspired by the immense popularity of Jackson's photographs of the mountain. Moran produced his image during a special trip to Colorado in 1874; it was awarded a medal at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876.
The book was issued as a commercial publication by Louis Prang of Boston and marked "the beginning of his dominance of the finest American chromolithographic work in the last quarter of the century" (Reese). According to Bennett, the book is "marvelously reproduced... hand work could never give the effect of perspective and distance achieved in the towering scenes reproduced here." Bennett 80; Graff 1830; Howes H338; Reese Nineteenth Century American Color Plate Books 99; Russell 100. VERY FINE.