“THE PANORAMA OF SNOW CLOUD MOUNTAINS IS BEYOND DESCRIPTION”: ACCOUNT OF THE FAMOUS HARRIMAN ALASKA EXPEDITION OF 1899, WITH 16 ORNITHOLOGICAL COLOR PLATES BY FUERTES AND 45 PHOTOGRAPHS BY EDWARD CURTIS
(CURTIS, Edward) HARRIMAN ALASKA EXPEDITION. Alaska. Volume I: Narrative, Glaciers, Natives. Volume II: History, Geography, Resources. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1901. Two volumes. Tall octavo, original green cloth, top edges gilt, uncut, original cloth dust jackets. $5000.
First edition account of the 1899 Harriman Expedition to Alaska, with 39 color plates (including 16 heliotype plates of coastal birds by Louis Agassiz Fuertes), 85 full-page photogravures (45 by Edward S. Curtis), five maps and numerous in-text illustrations.
In 1899, railroad magnate Edward Henry Harriman assembled a team of 26 distinguished scientists and artists, among them C. Hart Merriam, chief of the U.S. Biological Survey, John Burroughs, the best selling nature writer of the day, John Muir, much-admired father of the American conservation movement, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, the nation's most notable ornithological painter since Audubon, and Edward S. Curtis, famous photographer of the North American Indian. Harriman took this group on a two-month survey along the 9,000-mile coast of British Columbia and Alaska, from the panhandle to the Bering Strait. The expedition returned with over 100 trunks of specimens and more than 5000 photographs and paintings. From this material the team produced 12 volumes (of a projected 14) of Alaskan natural history from the coastal region over the next 12 years. These are the first two volumes of their discoveries, including John Muir's "The Pacific Coast Glaciers," George Bird Grinnell's "Natives of the Alaska Coast Region" and John Burroughs' 118-page "Narrative of the Expedition." "History has shown that the Harriman Alaska Expedition lived up to all expectations: genera and species new to science were described, fossil species newly recorded, natural history collections created, and the Harriman Fiord surveyed for the first time. By any standard, the world's scientific and environmental portrait of Alaska was greatly enriched as a result of the 1899 Harriman Alaska Expedition" (PBS). Wickersham 4013.