King, Clarence, et.al.; Report of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel. United States Government Printing Office, 1870–1878. Vols. 1 - 7 with 2 accompanying atlases. Seven large quarto text volumes, two elephant folio atlases.
The results of the survey were published in the seven volumes and two atlases listed below.
Vol. 1 Systematic Geology by Clarence King, U. S. Geologist. 1878. pp. xii, 803, frontispiece, profiles, 26 plates, 12 maps, and atlas of 12 sheets. (see below)
Vol. 2 Descriptive Geology by Arnold Hague and S. F. Emmons. 1877. pp. xiii, 890, frontispiece and 25 plates.
Vol. 3 Mining Industry by James D. Hague and S. F. Emmons with Geological Contributions by Clarence King. 1870. pp. xii, 647, frontispiece and 30 plates, and atlas of 14 sheets. (see below)
Vol. 4 Paleontology Part 1 by F. B. Meek. Paleontology Part 2 by James Hall and R. P. Whitfield. Ornithology by Robert Ridgway. 1877. pp. xii, 669, 24 plates.
Vol. 5 Botany by Sereno Watson…..1871. pp. liii, 525, map and 40 plates.
Vol. 6 Microscopical Petrography by Ferdinand Zirkel. 1876. pp. xv, 297, 12 colored and tinted plates.
Vol. 7 Odontornithes by O. C. Marsh. 1880. pp. xv, 201, 34 plates some folded, tinted.
Atlas 1. Atlas Accompanying Volume III on Mining Industry. Engraved and Printed by Julius Bien, NewYork. Folio, title page with list of plates, 14 plates.
Atlas 2. Atlas accompanying the report of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel. by Clarence King, U. S. geologist-in-charge. 1876. Julius Bien, Lithographer. Folio, 2 11., (title and legend), 1 single and 11 double folio sheets (1 single folio map, 10 double folio maps, 1 double folio section).
The set is a complete set of the King survey. The text volumes are in the original green cloth with gilt spine titles. The bindings are tight, rubbing to boards and bumping at binding corners. The Mining Industry volume was professionally repacked at some point with the original spine preserved. Four of the seven volumes have a “With the Compliments of Clarence King” label on the inside front pastedown, Vol. 3 has a small inked notation on the title page which is a private individuals catalog number. The text and plates in the volumes are very clean and bright.
The large geological atlas and mining industry atlas are both in the original green cloth with gilt cover titles. Bindings are tight and lightly rubbed, wear at corners and spine edges nicely restored, maps are clean. Over all a very good set.
Clarence Rivers King (January 6, 1842 – December 24, 1901) was an American geologist, mountaineer, and author. He served as the first director of the United States Geological Survey from 1879 to 1881. King was noted for his exploration of the Sierra Nevada and for organizing and leading the Fortieth Parallel Survey. He was a graduate of Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School where he studied geology, chemistry and physics. Many of his geology courses were taken under James D. Dana who had a major influence on King. In 1864 King and a close friend James T. Gardiner travelled by railroad and then wagon train to California where he joined the California Geological Survey without pay. King was befriended by J. D. Whitney and would complete surveys in the boundaries of the newly established Yosemite National Park, surveys of some of California’s highest peaks and surveys within the Mohave Desert region and parts of Arizona. Whitney played a major role in the further career of Clarence King. It was during these surveys that King conceived of organizing a more extensive survey of the American West, one that would connect Whitney’s surveys with the Hayden survey 800 miles to the east, along the route of the transcontinental railroad. Late in 1866 King went to Washington to secure funding for such a survey. He received federal funding and was named U.S. Geologist of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel. commonly known as the Fortieth Parallel Survey, in 1867. He persuaded his long time friend James T. Gardiner to be his second in command, and they assembled a team of promising scientists that included, among others, Samuel Franklin Emmons, Arnold Hague, A.D. Wilson, the photographer Timothy H. O'Sullivan, and artist Gilbert Munger. Over the next six years the survey explored and mapped areas from California to Wyoming. King’s survey required preparation of suitable topographic base maps at a scale of 4 miles to the inch and a contour interval of 300 feet. The Hayden, Powell, Wheeler, and later surveys adopted his example in making topographical maps the basis for portraying geology.
Survey results were published in seven volumes titled as the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, with two accompanying atlases. In 1878 King published Volume 1, Systematic Geology. This volume appeared later then all but one of the seven volumes. In this work he provided the geological history of the West as a mixture of uniformitarianism and catastrophism. The volume was well received and has been called "one of the great scientific works of the late nineteenth century.
King saw to it that Mining Industry (v. 3, 1870) appeared first. Doing so insured that the public and industry could see the utility of his survey. Descriptive Geology (v. 2, 1877) and King’s own Systematic Geology (v. 1, 1878) appeared shortly thereafter. A major feat was in persuading the world leader in the newly founded petrographic study of rocks, Ferdinand Zirkel, to prepare Microscopical Petrography (v. 6, 1876). Other volumes reviewed aspects of invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology, botany, and ornithology.
King's Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel promised, first, a study and description of all the natural resources of the mountain country near the Union and Central Pacific railroads; and secondly, the completion of a continuous geological section across the widest expansion of the great Cordilleran Mountain System. His survey achieved both of these objectives. The atlas accompanying his Systematic Geology provided some of the promised geological maps and sections across the west.
In 1879, the US Congress consolidated the number of geological surveys exploring the American West and created the United States Geological Survey. King was chosen as its first director. He took the position with the understanding that it would be temporary, and he resigned after twenty months, having overseen the organization of the new agency with an emphasis on mining geology. He named John Wesley Powell as his successor.