“MAP OF THE UNITED STATES EXHIBITING...DISTRIBUTION OF GEOLOGIC GROUPS” W. J. McGee. Washington: 1884. Compiled under direction of Henry Garrett. Color-lithographed map by Julius Bien with original color. Folded , as issued. (Image: 17 3/8 x 28 1/8'')
This scarce and unusual map is the first published map of the US by the newly formed USGS (founded 1879). It depicts the various geological features of the United States by color code. Several major cities, water routes and numerous Indian Tribes are identified.
The chart at lower left provides a key to the eleven colors for the different geological types. This was plate II in the annual report which provided the most accurate, up-to-date information of the time - though soon to be superseded by Hitchcock's 1886 geological map. An interesting view of the country as it was known to exist geologically by the 1880's.
William John McGee (1853-1912) In 1883 McGee worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, headed by Major John Wesley Powell, where he headed the division of the Atlantic Coastal Plains Geology in Washington, DC. He was hired as an ethnologist in 1893 at the Bureau of American Ethnology in charge under Powell.