GEOLOGICAL MAP / of the / LAKE SUPERIOR / LAND DISTRICT / in The State of Michigan

Following the establishment of the State of Michigan and the Territory of Wisconsin in 1836, interest arose in the mineral resources of these regions. William Austin Burt, a United States Deputy Surveyor in the region, found that local iron deposits caused serious disturbances in his magnetic compass, leading him to develop the solar compass (several of which are in the Museum collections). Congress authorized a geological survey of the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan in 1847. This map is one result of that project.
This map of Lake Superior and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan extends from 45° to 48°55' north latitude, and from 83°40' to 92°12' longitude west from Greenwich. The several geological features are in different colors.
The text at lower right reads “Prepared PURSUANT to AN Act of Congress APPROVED / MARCH 1ST 1847, ENTITLED ‘AN Act TO ESTABLISH A NEW Land District / AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE SALE OF MINERAL LANDS IN THE / STATE OF Michigan’ / BY / J. W. FOSTER & J. D. WHITNEY, U.S. GEOLOGISTS / J. Ackerman Lithr 379 Broadway, N.Y.”
After graduating from Yale College and studying chemistry with Robert Hare in Philadelphia and with Charles T. Jackson in Boston, Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896) spent several years studying geology and related sciences in Europe. In 1847, as one of the best trained scientists in the United States, he was named first assistant on Jackson’s geological survey of the region around Lake Superior, and was given charge of this project soon thereafter. Working with John Wells Foster (1815-1873), a graduate of Wesleyan University, he prepared a report on the copper lands in 1850, and another on the iron region in 1851, and submitted them to Congress.
J. W. Foster and J. D. Whitney, “Report on the Geology and Topography of a Portion of the Lake Superior Land District in the State of Michigan,” part 2, Congress, Session, House Doc. , 1851.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 30 in x 43 in; 76.2 cm x 109.22 cm
overall: 30 in x 42 3/4 in; 76.2 cm x 108.585 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Prints from the Physical Sciences Collection
Measuring & Mapping
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Prints from the Physical Sciences Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
National Archives and Records Service

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