1888 Chart of the eastern part of Bahama Islands, part of Cuba and the North Coast of Santo Domingo


Chas. Mahon. “West Indies. Eastern Part of Bahama Islands. Part of Cuba and North Coast of Santo Domingo.” Washington: Hydrographic Department, Navy Department, Oct. 1885-November 1888. Separately issued U.S. Navy chart of the eastern Bahama Islands. 24 1/2 x 39. Engraved by H.C. Evans. Hand highlights for lighthouses and beacons. A few smudges, but otherwise very good condition.

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A highly detailed chart showing the eastern Bahama Islands with part of Cuba and Santa Domingo; a fine example of the output of the U.S. Coast Survey.  The single-minded purpose of Ferdinand Hassler, a Swiss immigrant, is what first brought the Coast Survey into existence.  As the first Superintendent of the Coast Survey, 1816-1818 and 1832-1843, he imbued the organization with love of “truth” and unswerving compromise with the twin principles of accuracy and precision. His motto was: “It is the duty of every man to be honest and to do good.”  Following his death in 1843, Alexander Dallas Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, took over the helm of the Coast Survey.  Bache, with his friend Joseph Henry, was dedicated to elevating American science to the front ranks of the world community. As opposed to Hassler who was politically naive, Bache moved smoothly through the American political scene for the benefit of the Coast Survey and American science.  The Coast Survey prospered during his tenure as Superintendent and became the first great science organization of the United States Federal Government.  Professionally, he became a guiding light of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [presided over three of the first six meetings of the AAAS] and was a founder of the National Academy of Sciences.  This chart reflects Hassler and Bache’s dedication and care, and that of all the other superb scientists and craftsmen who worked for the U.S. Coast Survey.