Report of Explorations Across the Great Basin of the Territory of Utah


Shortening the trail between Salt Lake City and California.

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In the summer of 1859, Captain James Simpson of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers led an expedition to discover the possibility for a wagon route through Utah and Nevada to connect Salt Lake City to California. Though several indirect paths through the region connecting east and west were available, it was hoped that an alternative would cut hundreds of miles and several days’ travel between the two populated areas.

Simpson kept meticulous recordings of the party’s findings and completed his report by the early 1860s, but the onset of the Civil War ultimately delayed publication until 1876. This is a lovely example of the resulting volume, issued in Washington, D.C. by the Government Printing Office.

An introduction of the region’s historical exploration is followed by Simpson’s report and several appendices of astronomical observations, tables of distances, barometrical profiles, appropriations estimates, and more. The book also includes a large folding map showing the wagon routes across the Utah Territory, drawn by J.P. Mechlin.

Sources: Route for the Overland Stage; Example at the University of Michigan 

Map Details

Publication Date: 1876

Author: J.H. Simpson

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: A-

Condition Description: First edition, professionally restored in with a new embossed quarter leather spine and original green cloth and new endpapers. Title page has torn and separated, but is present. Contents are very good and complete, 518 pp. + an errata tipped in after the table of contents. Folding maps show moderate toning, some offsetting, and tears along the binding edge and at fold intersections, many of which have been repaired with archival materials.


1 in stock