U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere

J.M. GILLISS

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Item#: 127247 price:$2,800.00

U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere
U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere

THE U.S. NAVAL EXPEDITION TO THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE, WITH FINE COLOR LITHOGRAPHS AND A VERY LARGE PANORAMIC VIEW OF SANTA LUCIA, CHILE

GILLISS, J[ames] M[elville]. The U.S. Naval Astronomical Expedition to the Southern Hemisphere During the Years 1849-'50-'51-'52. Washington: A.O.P. Nicholson, 1855. Two volumes. Large quarto, contemporary three-quarter calf, raised bands, black morocco spine labels, marbled boards. $2800.

First edition of the official report of Gilliss' important expedition to South America—only the third American Naval Scientific expedition—illustrated with four folding maps, a very large hand-colored folding view of Santa Lucia, Chile, 41 full-page lithographs (four tinted and 19 printed in color), five plans, and 11 wood-engraved vignettes—two large quarto volumes in contemporary calf.

Gilliss was one of the highest-ranking astronomers in the United States Navy. "In August 1848 he succeeded in obtaining $5000 from Congress for a naval astronomical expedition to Chile. The chief purpose was to determine the solar parallax—and thus the scale of the solar system—by observations of Mars and Venus. From August 1849 until its return in November 1852, Gilliss headed this expedition, again making observations far beyond the original purposes of the expedition and leaving behind the foundation for the Chilean National Observatory" (ANB). The first volume describes Chile as a nation and includes a detailed narrative of the voyage; in Volume II the expedition's scientists describe the animal, mineral, and fossil collections returned by the expedition. Among the illustrations are a three-part folding map of Chile, a beautiful folding view of Santa Lucia, Chile, measuring over four feet, and over two dozen plates of South American fish, bird, and reptile species, many printed in vibrant color. The Report and Observations of the expedition were intended to be published in six volumes. Volumes IV and V were never published; Volume III (not present) contains the expedition's astronomical observations; Volume VI (not present) contains the magnetic and meteorological observations. This is common: as noted on page (iii), 6000 copies of the Report—the present two volumes—were ordered to be published, while only 2000 copies of the two volumes of the more technical Observations were ordered. Sabin 27419. Hill 707. Ex-library with unobtrusive perforated stamp to title page and final text leaf of each volume; library card pocket in Volume II; evidence of same in Volume I; paper shelf labels to spines.

Text and plates generally clean, with only occasional foxing; light rubbing attractive and sound contemporary calf bindings. An extremely good copy.

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