22 May 2001
MÖLLHAUSEN, Heinrich Balduin (1825-1905). Tagebuch einer Reise vom Mississippi nach den Küsten der Südsee von Balduin Möllhausen. Introduction by Alexander von Humboldt. Leipzig: Hermann Mendelssohn, 1858.
2 volumes, 4o (320 x 252 mm). Half-title in volume two, two title-pages. Engraved title vignette of the Colorado River after Möllhausen, 7 chromolithographic plates mounted on card and 6 tinted lithographic plates after Möllhausen, engraved folding map after Henry Lange, partially colored by hand, 10 wood engravings in text. (Some occasional pale spotting and soiling.) Original blue-grey printed wrappers, ENTIRELY UNCUT AND UNOPENED (spines largely lacking and with some old tape repairs, chips at edges); cloth slipcase. Provenance: Dr. Otto L. Schmidt (1863-1935), President of the Illinois State Historical Society (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, FINE COPY IN THE SCARCE ORIGINAL WRAPPERS. With the exception of the Streeter copy, no copy of Möllhausen's narrative in the original wrappers has been sold at auction in the last century according to ABPC. This copy, like Streeter's, has the preliminary title-page in volume one which was meant to be replaced by the half-title, title-page and preliminaries in volume two when the book was bound in the publisher's blue gilt-pictorial cloth.
Möllhausen's narrative is the most important product of Lieut. Amiel Weeks Whipple's Pacific Railroad Survey Exploration in 1853. Möllhausen had been sent to America by Alexander von Humboldt to serve Whipple as the artist and topographer on his expedition to locate a rail route to the Pacific. Their route was the third of four potential routes proposed by then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis: along the 35th parallel from Fort Smith Arkansas through central New Mexico and Arizona to the Colorado River and across the Mojave Desert of California. Möllhausen produced notable plates of the Pueblo Indians with accompanying notes about them, filling his account with interesting ethnographic and anecdotal details not found in the official Railroad Survey Reports. Cowan, p.435; Graff 2852; Howes M713; Sabin 49914; Wagner-Camp 305:1 (collates as one volume); Wheat Mapping the Transmississipi West 955. (2)
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