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Next: Chapter I: Introductory

THE YOSEMITE BOOK
by Josiah D. Whitney (1869)



Introduction

Portrait of Josiah Dwight Whitney, Jr. by Silas Selleck, 1863
Josiah D. Whitney, 1863
Portrait of California Geological Survey: Chester Averill, William Gabb,
William Ashburner, Josiah Whitney, Charles F. Hoffmann, Clarence King, and William H. Brewer
California Geological Survey, December 1863: Chester Averill, assistant, William M. Gabb, paleontologist, William Ashburner, field assistant, Josiah D. Whitney, State Geologist, Charles F. Hoffmann, topographer, Clarence King, geologist and William H. Brewer, botanist (Bancroft Library).
Josiah Dwight Whitney, Jr. was born 1819 in Massachusetts. He graduated at Yale and surveyed several areas in America and Europe as a geologist. In 1865, he was appointed professor of geology by Harvard in 1865 and received an honorary doctorate from Yale in 1870.

In 1860 Whitney was appointed state geologist of California in 1860. Whitney, along with William H. Brewer, Clarence King, Lorenzo Yates, and others, made an extensive survey of California, including the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite region. Some California legislators though his job was just discovering gold and mineral wealth in the state. Whitney would have none of that and conducted a thorough scientific survey of the state. He published a well-regarded six-volume series Geological Survey of California (1864 - 1870), and this excellent volume, The Yosemite Book, among others. It was “among the first American books devoted entirely to photographs of landscape” (Naef and Wood, Era of Exploration, 1975). In The Yosemite Book Whitney was an early voice for conservation. He was the first known person to use the term “national park” and urged the state not to deed some land in Yosemite Valley to early settlers, but to keep the entire valley as a national park. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continuous United States was named after him.

When John Muir arrived in Yosemite in 1869, and when The Yosemite Book was first published, the conventional thinking was that of Whitney’s. That is, there were no active glaciers in the Sierra Nevada—the weather was too warm. Whitney thought Yosemite Valley was formed not by glaciers but “the bottom of the Valley sank down...” Muir discovered the first known active glacier in 1871 in the High Sierra. He also found glacier scaring and glacier moraines in Yosemite Valley. Muir published his findings and was made famous from his writings and lectures. Whitney was obstinant. He derided Muir as a “mere sheepherder” and “ignoramus.” Whitney suppressed evidence found by King and Gardiner of glaciers in Yosemite Valley. But Muir’s view eventually prevailed in the scientific community. Whitney died in 1896 in New Hampshire. He maintained, to his death, that not only there never glaciers in Yosemite Valley, but that no glaciers currently exist in the Sierra Nevada (even though several live glaciers have been discovered by Muir).

1868 (1869) and 1870 editions converted to HTML by Dan Anderson, April 2004 from copies at the San Diego Public Library. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice is left intact.
    —Dan Anderson, www.yosemite.ca.us


Bibliographic Note

Josiah Dwight Whitney, Jr. (1819 - 1896) The Yosemite Book: A Description of the Yosemite Valley and the Adjacent Region of the Sierra Nevada, and of the Big Trees of California, illustrated by maps and photographs. (New York: Julius Bien, 1868). 116 p. 28 photographic plates. 2 maps. Hardbound in either dark red-brown or blue-green cloth, gilt lettering, and morocco leather spine [Cover image]. Quatro, 32 cm. This is the first edition, released in 1869, although the date printed is 1868. Only 250 copies of the first edition were printed, as all albumen photographs, were made and tipped-in by hand. All but four of the photographs were by landscape photographer Carleton E. Watkins.

Subsequent editions, from 1870, were published with the maps but without the photographs as The Yosemite Guide-Book: A Description of the Yosemite Valley and the Adjacent Region of the Sierra Nevada, and of the Big Trees of California. The Yosemite Valley map by Clarence King and James Gardner was replaced by a more-accurate map by Charles Hoffmann. The major revision for the 1870 edition was new material about the southern High Sierra, mostly in present Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, that was appended to the end of Chapter 4. The 1870 edition also added wood-cuts, but had no photographs, and the 1871 edition had no illustrations at all. The wood-cuts and additional material about the southern High Sierra has been added to the first (1869) edition presented here. The Yosemite Guide-Book was revised in 1873, and reprinted in 1874 and 1875. The maps were also corrected and updated. The 1874 edition adds a map of routes to Yosemite Valley.

The Yosemite Book is available in print-on-demand, CD-ROM, and microfilm formats from:


GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF CALIFORNIA.
J.D. WHITNEY, State Geologist


THE

YOSEMITE BOOK;

A DESCRIPTION OF THE YOSEMITE VALLEY AND THE ADJACENT
REGION OF THE SIERRA NEVADA, AND OF THE
BIG TREES OF CALIFORNIA,

ILLUSTRATED BY MAPS AND PHOTOGRAPHS.


PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THE LEGISLATURE.
NEW YORK, JULIUS BIEN.
1868.


Printed by
The New York Lithographing, Engraving and Printing Company.
16 & 18 Park Place.

Ebook formatsNo images:Plain text zipPluckerHTML zipPalm DocPalm zTXTSony LRFBraille Grade 2 BRF
Images: PDF PluckeriSiloKindle/Mobipocket

Next: Chapter I: Introductory

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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