Photographs and Illustrations for U.S. Surveys, 1850-1890
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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THREE C. C. JONES: THE USGS INVESTIGATION OF THE CHARLESTON EARTHQUAKE 143...
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Although the name of one author may grace the cover, overlapping communitiesproduce a book. This book emerged out of a dissertation written under the guid-ance of Henri Zerner, and his magnanimous and wise care deserves much creditfor whatever merit it possesses. Another member of my dissertation committee,Eric Rosenberg, has been a splendid interlocutor for the past decade, and to himspecial thanks are also due. Of my brilliant Harvard colleagues, Yve-Alain Bois, Peter Gal-ison, Joseph Koerner, Jennifer Roberts, and Henri Zerner deserve singling out for theiressential suggestions. Professor Roberts read reams of drafts and generously proffered in-sights that enriched the book throughout. Every scholar should have such a colleague but...
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...1 Timothy H. O’Sullivan, Ancient Ruins in the Cañon de Chelle, N.M.: In a Niche2 Timothy H. O’Sullivan, Historic Spanish Record of the Conquest, South Side of3 Arthur Schott, View from Monument No. 17, Looking East towards Monument4 Arthur Schott, View from Monument 18, in the Puerto de la Sierra del Pajarito,5 Arthur Schott, View from Monument 18, in the Puerto de la Sierra del Pajarito,...
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This book is about pictures, style, and power outside the usual domain of art. Be-tween 1850 and 1890, several U.S. geological or geographical surveys producedextraordinary sets of illustrations and photographs. Although museums and his-torians have long valued some of these pictures, their distinctive appearance hasremained puzzling. Consider, for example, a photograph from 1873 by Timothy H.O’Sullivan for a western survey led by Lieutenant George M. Wheeler of the Army Corpsof Engineers (fig. 1). A patchy, tenebrous foreground gives way to an improbably expan-sive rock wall, held taut by weathered striations that seemingly pull its surface even withthe picture plane. Light rakes across the rock, finely articulating each striation, crease,...
1. MARKING THE MEXICAN BOUNDARY
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Adesert scene exhibits peculiar qualities (fig. 3). It divides between a narrow fore-ground of painstakingly rendered elements and an expanse of schematic topog-raphy, thus eschewing the continuity of recession landscapists usually prize. Itpresents, in the manner of a natural hieroglyph, a compact arrangement of or-ganic and animated signs. A leafy tip of a cactus stalk at left echoes a flag at cen-ter and gestures toward a starlike burst in the sky, while the stone monument anchoringthe flag has the composite rotundity of the cactus at right. The economy of the pictureand the individuation of its motifs make the relations among the latter seem more syn-The picture belongs to a set of thirty-two steel engravings in Major William H. Emory’s...
2. SURVEYS OF THE AMERICAN WEST
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Timothy H. O’Sullivan’s survey photography has become a standard item in histo-ries of photography and art (figs. 1, 2). As I noted in the Introduction, the litera-ture on it has been largely split between writers who trace its appeal to the pho-tographer’s modernist intuition, his “innate feeling for contour and the abstractforms of terrain and rock,” and those who deemphasize its modernistic qualities.1This chapter relates the modernist look of these photographs to historical circumstancesrather than personal intuition. In it I argue that O’Sullivan strategically positioned hisphotography within a matrix of graphic practices. Working alongside other specialists inthe field, he fashioned a correspondence between the photograph and other forms of...
3. THE USGS INVESTIGATION OF THECHARLESTON EARTHQUAKE
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On September 3, 1886, a photographer named Charles Clifford Jones, known as C. C.Jones, arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, with a geologist named WJ (no pe-riods) McGee. Both Jones and McGee were employees of the United States Geo-logical Survey (USGS), established by Congress in 1879 in the Department of theInterior. The USGS had sent the two men to Charleston to investigate and recordthe effects of a massive earthquake that had rocked the city four days before. Jones wouldmake thirty-three large glass negatives during his five days in Charleston, yielding posi-The survey business had changed since O’Sullivan’s term of employment with the De-partment of War. By the late 1870s, the notion of exploring the West had become an...
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The preceding chapters have argued that the historical circumstances of survey pro-duction fostered new pictorial approaches. Makers of survey pictures had to sat-isfy vague and contradictory bureaucratic needs, adapt old habits to new tasks,and address viewers with disparate expectations, including some who doubted thepictures’ value and legitimacy as public records. The forces shaping new approachescame both from above, in the directives and filtering of supervisors, and from below, inthe ingenuity and recalcitrance of employees. Because the pictures that resulted bore tracesof conflict and accommodation, they operated as rhetorical prisms. Viewed from the topof the bureaucracy, they meant one thing; viewed from the position of the draftsman or...
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BEIN Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale Collection of Western Americana,1 For a discussion of the reception of O’Sullivan’s photography, see Robin Kelsey, “Les espaceshistoriographiques de Timothy O’Sullivan,” Etudes photographiques 14 (Jan. 2004): 4–33.The critic in question is Rosalind Krauss. See Rosalind Krauss, “Photography’s Discursive2 Entry for Sept. 24, 1871, Geologists’ Field Notebooks, Records of the U.S. Geological Sur-...
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Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New HavenRecord Group 77: Records of the Office of the Chief of EngineersRecord Group 76: Records of Boundary and Claims Commissions and ArbitrationsThe Accused and the Accusers: The Famous Speeches of the Eight Chicago Anarchists in Court.Adams, Henry. Review of Report of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, vol. 3, Min-...
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Page Count: 286
Publication Year: 2007