Report Upon the Colorado River of the West by Joseph C. Ives, Antique Volume with Folding Maps, 1861

Ives, Joseph C. Report Upon the Colorado River of the West. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1861. First edition. Includes two large folding maps, eight folding panoramic views, and chromolithographic portraits. Beautifully rebound in three-quarter leather binding and housed in a custom archival slipcase.

In the mid-19th century, much of the American West was still unexplored and undocumented by the United States. In order to determine whether the Colorado River had potential to become a major shipping route, the United States  sponsored the Colorado Exploration Expedition, also called the Ives Expedition. A Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, Ives was eager to explore and document the region. From 1857 to 1858, Ives and his team collected numerous specimens and managed to navigate their steam boat to the entrance of the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately for Ives, his boat crashed and they continued the journey for thirty miles on foot, producing sketches and descriptions of the dazzling scenes. Ives believed that, despite the natural wonders and vast geological features of the impressive area, he would be the last person to visit the Grand Canyon in its harsh, dry environment and much of the Colorado River would remain unexplored.

Ives reported that the Colorado River, which runs through the Grand Canyon, was unsuitable for trading and transportation routes. He ascertained that the only way into the canyon was from the south and once inside, not much by way of navigation could be done. He may have been the first man from the United States to visit the Grand Canyon, but he was far from the last. Lieutenant Ives had never foreseen the immense interest the American people would have in such natural grandeur.

This report on Ives’ explorations includes the Lieutenant’s observations as well as those of his accompanying scientists, fifteen full-page engravings, two large folding maps, eight large folding panoramic views, seven chromolithographic portraits of Native Americans, three paleontology plates, and many in-text wood engravings. The highly illustrated book was the first published account in the United States detailing the vast Colorado River, The Grand Canyon, and the scientific specimens found there.


Overall very good condition. The internal pages show slight toning from age, but no other notable damage. The book has been rebound in beautiful three-quarter red leather with marbled paper. Housed in a custom-built archival slipcase, the book will remain protected.

Dimensions: 12" H x 9 1/2" W x 2" D (with slipcase)

Related Items


Exclusive deals, new arrivals, and more. Sign up for our emails and get in on all the action!