Becker, George F. & Eliot Lord; Geology of the Comstock Lode and the Washoe District with Atlas. AND Comstock Mines and Miners. USGS Monographs 3 and 4. Washington, GPO, 1882 & 1883. Monograph 3, text, large quarto, pp. xv, 422, 7 plates, 33 text figures. Elephant folio atlas with title sheet, index sheet and 19 (most being double page) sheets of plates. Monograph 4, large quarto, pp. xiv, 451, 3 plates (being maps, two are large folded maps).
The two monographs and the atlas are complete. All are in the original matching brown cloth with gilt titles. The text volumes are tight with clean bindings and gilt titles. Light rubbing to bindings. Inner hinge nicely restored in monograph 3, owner’s signature in one volume, and owner’s small stamp in the second volume. The atlas is in the original cloth, gilt titles are bright, spine on atlas has been expertly repaired. The plates are bright and clean, short repair to first blank end sheet. Over all a very good set.
Becker (1847-1919) was a prominent American geologist. He is best remembered for his work in connection with the origin and mode of occurrence of ore deposits, especially those of the western United States. He graduated from Harvard University in 1868, studied at Heidelberg, receiving the degree of Ph.D. in 1869, and, two years later, passed the final examination of the Royal School of Mines in Berlin. From 1875 until 1879 he was instructor of mining and metallurgy at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 1879 he became connected with the United States Geological Survey, and later was placed in charge of the USGS California division of geology. It was during his tenure with the USGS that he made his major contributions to the origin of ore deposits. His study of the Comstock is considered his crowning achievement.
Becker's study of the Comstock took place between April 1880 and March 1881. Becker discusses the discovery and development of the deposits, the lithology of the rocks and the structural geology. He discusses the origins of the ore deposits and the activity at the various mining claims. In the second monograph, Lord first discusses the birth of the silver mining industry in America and then the growth of that industry, especially in Nevada. The majority of the work is devoted to the discovery of the placer deposits in and around Comstock, the early mining camps and towns and especially the various claims and mines. He discusses the implementation of the much needed mine laws, the major figures in the development of the mines, the problems associated with the various mines and much more. The book is an excellent resource on the history of the Comstock.