A.D. Bache. “Sketch I Showing the progress of the Survey in Section No.
9 1848 to 53.” From Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey. Washington, 1853. 7 1/2 x 21 1/4. Some very slight discoloration at folds. Very good condition.
Efforts to continue improving government coastal maps of the United States called for refining the triangulation surveys by the U.S. Coastal Survey . This precisely drawn map is a sketch of the progress made by the survey along the Gulf Coast between Matagorda Bay and Sabine Lake in the years 1848 to 1853. This survey was under the direction of A.D. Bache, who is credited with being the first head of the U.S. Coast Survey to combine fine geographic work with bureaucratic accomplishments. He 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.
As part of Superintendent Bache’s overall strategy of pushing forward the work of the Coast Survey and elevating the American science community in the eyes of the world scientific community, Bache embarked on the policy of publishing the results of the Coast Survey and the related work of other professional scientists (often supported by Bache’s wise patronage through the auspices of the Coast Survey) in the Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey. These reports are worthy of study because they: (1) encompass the history of the Coast Survey; (2) serve as pointers for additional information residing in the National Archives, Library of Congress, and other repositories throughout the United States; and (3) capture much of the evolution of the philosophy of science and engineering; and (4) serve as a guide to understanding the evolution of both the politics of science and the generation of science policies that affect the citizens of the United States today. This map was issued in the 1853 report.