St. Petersburg: Typ.
of Karl Kray, 1847-1848. First edition. 23x15,5 cm. Two vols. bound
together. [2 – t.p.], 182, ; [2 – t.p.], 120, , 43 pp. With a large folding
copper engraved map bound at rear. Period half leather with papered
boards. Front free endpaper with an ink presentation inscription: “To
Edouard Leontievich Blaschke from a colleague and the author. As
a sign of memory and sincere respect. Bought by me from <…>?” Ink
stamp of the private library of Ivan Nikiforovich Mikhailov under the
presentation inscription. Owner’s pencil notes and markings in text. Hinges with small cracks, paper age toned, map with a tear neatly
repaired, otherwise a very good copy of this rare book.
Rare Russian imprint with only eight copies found in Worldcat.
This copy bears the author’s presentation inscription to “his colleague”
Eduard Blaschke (1810-1878), Russian doctor of German origin who
worked for the Russian American Company in 1835-40 and was known
for campaigns to vaccinate the native population against measles.
In 1842 Blaschke published in Saint Petersburg a Latin-language
“Dissertatio inauguralis sistens topographiam medicam portus
Novi-Archangelscensis, sedis principalis coloniarum rossicarum in
septentrionali America” (“Medical Topography of the New Archangel
port…”) where above all he described the nature and population around
Sitka. The ink library stamp under Zagoskin’s presentation inscription
belongs to a Russian cartographer Ivan Mikhailov, Professor of Saint
Petersburg Orphan’s Institute of Emperor Nikolas I, and a state councilor
“Lieutenant Zagoskin’s expedition was to make an inland
exploration of the northern territory of Alaska and to survey the Kvikhpak
(Yukon) and Kuskokvim rivers and the region encompassed by them.
Zagoskin kept a diary which forms the basis of his work. He described
in detail the Russian trading posts visited and the topography of the
surroundings of Norton Sound. He also gave a good account of the
life and customs of the Eskimo and the Indian inhabitants and much
other important first-hand information secured during the expedition’s
18 ½ months of travel, during which about 5,000 versts (some 3,000
miles) were covered on foot and in leather baidars – a truly remarkable
achievement” (Lada-Mocarski 130).
“The map must be one of the first, if not the first, printed
map of the interior of Alaska along the lower course of the Yukon and
between the Yukon and what is now Nome. Zagoskin’s explorations
were confined chiefly to the middle course of the Kuslokwim and the
lower course and northern tributaries of the Yukon” (Streeter 3521).
Zagoskin (1808-1890) was on service of the Russian-American
Company since 1838. In 1824-44 he headed the exploratory expedition
to the surrounding of the Norton and Kotzebue Sounds, during which
he discovered the mountain range separating the Yukon River from the
eastern shore of the Norton Sound, surveyed the basins of the local
rivers, found previously unknown Aleut settlement (modern Holy Cross
in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska), compiled the first map of the area, and collected numerous zoological, botanical, mineralogical
and ethnographical items. For his achievements, he was elected a
member of the Russian Geographical Society which published excerpts
from his travel diary in its “Proceedings” (1846 and 1847). This first full
edition of Zagoskin’s travel account was published in two volumes in
1847-1848 and is accompanied with a large folding map outlining the
route of his expedition. This edition received the Demidov Award of the
Russian Academy of Sciences (1849).
Arctic Bibliography 19781; Bancroft pp. 553-54; Wickersham 5904.