|Artist||Powell, John Wesley|
|Published||by J.W. Powell. London, J.S. Virtue & Co. Limited [London, c.1900]|
|Dimensions||320 x 235 mm|
A fascinating linguistic map of North America, published by Virtue & Co. as a reduced version of the seminal ethnographic survey by John Wesley Powell. The map divides North America into bands of colour representing language groups of the various First Nations Peoples. The largest territories are occupied by Athapascan, Algonquian, Siouan, Shoshonean, and Iroquoian speaking peoples, covering between them the majority of the north, central, and eastern sections of the continent. By contrast the west coast is populated by numerous small pockets of individual language groups. A boxed inset map in the bottom left shows the continuation of Eskimauan speakers in the Aleutian Islands. Superimposed on these groups are the dashed outlines of the individual states of the USA, and 'Dominion of Canada' runs in an arc across the north.
John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) was an American geographer, geologist, ethnographer, explorer, and soldier. His achievements and experiences were diverse. Although having a strong inclination for natural sciences, his awareness of the impending Civil War encouraged him to study engineering and military science. Following the conclusion of the War, in which he lost an arm while fighting for the Union, he became taught geology at a number of Illinois institutions, as well as leading expeditions to the Rockies and the Colorado River, before becoming the second Director of the US Geological Survey. His interests spread into ethnography, particularly American linguistics, and he was instrumental in the creation of a landmark linguistic survey of the continent. He is also remembered as being one of the main opponents to the expansion of agricultural development in the West, arguing that the lack of water would inevitably lead to struggle and conflict in future. Following his death, he was buried at Arlington, as a mark of esteem for his services to his nation.
James Sprent Virtue (1829-1892) was a British publisher, printer, and stationer, and the son and successor of George Virtue, the founder of a successful London-based printing house. In 1855, he gained control of the family company on the retirement of his father, renaming it J.S. Virtue & Co Ltd. and working with a number of other family members in both England and America. He is best known as the publisher of The Art Journal.
Condition: Central horizontal fold, as issued. Minor creasing and time toning to edges of sheet. Blank on verso.