Lithograph from the Pacific Railroad Survey
the foot of the Sierra Blanca, Valley of San Luis, August, 1853
(larger scan and history
Lithograph - a
lithograph printed from 2 or 3 stones, one producing the details of the
image in black ink, and 1 or 2 others providing some wash-like coloring
(typically fawn, blue, green or gray).
1853, the U.S. Congress authorized the Corps of Topographic Engineers
to undertake a survey of potential rail routes between the Mississippi
River and the Pacific Ocean. This print is an illustration from
the report of the survey at the 38th and 39th parallels under the leadership
of Captain John W. Gunnison, assisted by Lt. Edward G. Beckwith, who surveyed
routes in Kansas, Colorado and Utah. Gunnison, Richard H.
Kern, topographer and artist to the expedition, and seven others were
killed by Ute Indians along the Sevier River in Utah. Beckwith assumed
leadership and the survey explored routes at the 41st parallel which Beckwith
(and Gunnison before him) recommended as an economical and practicable
route. Although this suggestion had little influence at the
time of the survey, the first transcontinental railroad completed in 1869,
when the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads were joined at
Promontory Point, Utah, basically followed Beckwith's route.
This lithograph is 146 years old; it is not a modern reproduction.
Fort Massachusetts, At the foot of the Sierra Blanca, Valley of San Luis,
Mix Stanley (1814-1872) from a sketch by Richard
H. Kern (1821-1853).
Richard Kern was actually the artist
of the Pacific Railroad Survey at the 38th and 39th parallels; he was
the one who made the original drawings and paintings. Because he was killed
in October, 1853 by Ute Indians in Utah, John Mix Stanley prepared the
images for lithography. Stanley, a noted artist himself, was artist
to the northern route of the USPRR Survey under Gov. Isaac Stevens, that
explored the area between St. Paul and Puget Sound.
T. Sinclair, Philadelphia.
8 7/8 x 5 7/8 inches.
including margins: 11 1/4 x 8 1/2
inches. (Scan below includes margins)