Maury, Matthew Fontaine

Maury's Whale Chart 4th Edition


Whale Chart. M.F. Maury A.M. Lieut. U.S. Navy (Preliminary Sketch) Series F. Fourth edition.


Rare thematic chart of reported whale sightings by geographic area, whale species, and relative number of sightings. An early example of the graphical display of quantitative information for decision making.

Matthew Maury's Whale Chart, was first issued by the United States Bureau of Ordnance & Hydrography in 1851. This is the fourth (4th.) edition, from the United State Hydrographical Office in the 1960s.

Upper top left position with logo of eagle over an anchor surrounded by text: "United States Hydrographical Office". Top right position reads "Catalog: Introduction. Part 1.". Bottom right position reads "Price 50 cents / H.O. Miscel. No. 8514" Mid-20th-century electrotype on wove paper. This instance of Maury's whale chart carries two unknown blue ink accession hand stamps in the far bottom right margin: "June 23, 1969." and "Accession no. [in MS] 763."

Shows best whaling areas and migration patterns for sperm whales and right whales, as well as the most densely populated areas and areas of "Straggling" Sperm Whales and Right Whales.

Matthew Fontaine Maury
(1806 - 1873)

Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806–1873) was an American naval officer, oceanographer, and astronomer known for his pioneering work in oceanography, meteorology, and cartography. He is often called the "Pathfinder of the Seas" and the "Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology" and later, "Scientist of the Seas" for his significant contributions to charting wind and ocean currents.

In 1842, Maury became Superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory and the Depot of Charts and Instruments, the forerunner of the United States Hydrographic Office. There, he had access to vast logs of data from naval and merchant marine vessels, which he used for his research.

Perhaps Maury's most notable achievement was the development of the first comprehensive charts of ocean winds and currents, based on logs and reports gathered from thousands of ship captains. His "Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic" (1847) dramatically reduced the length of ocean voyages. His system of recording oceanographic data was so effective that it was used internationally to improve sea travel. (1)

(1) Garcia, Christine. Atlan. Online. August 29, 2019.

CREATOR: Maury, Matthew Fontaine




CONDITION: Good.  Rolled with no folds. On strong paper. No holes, tears or condition issues. Wide margins.



SIZE: 36 " x 24 "




Next shipping date is 01/02/2024. Happy Holidays!

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