1903 New York State Geologist D. Dana Luther Autograph Letters Signed with Manuscript Draft and Map

1903 New York State Geologist D. Dana Luther Autograph Letters Signed with Manuscript Draft and Map
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Price: $1,250.00


Description: An important group of primary manuscript material related to the geology of western New York including: The first of two letters from D. Dana Luther to John M. Clarke, dated January 1903, encloses 58 manuscript pages of Luther's draft of his paper "Stratigraphy of Portage Formation Between the Genesee Valley and Lake Erie," which was published on pages 1000-1029 of the Report of the State Paleontologist, 1902. In the letter, Luther assures Clarke "It has been re-written from my notes and the figures have been carefully revised, and some changes made so that it is now, I think substantially correct. There is only one point on which I am uncertain, and that is the correlation of the Portage and the Laona sandstones."

He goes on to describe his dilemma in further detail, and expresses regret regarding the missing data that has contributed to his uncertainty. He ends by telling Clarke, "I expect you to use the material in any way that you think best." The letter also encloses a pencil diagram showing "that if the dip is the same from Forestville to Varysburg as from the lake shore to Forestville, the Laona ss would be 138 ft above the Portage at Varysburg and at a point "A" 7 miles west of Holland 128' or if Gannett is correct 225' above it."

Also included here is a second letter, dated a little over a week after the first, enclosing eight manuscript pages listing the stations cited in Luther's paper; these lists were embedded in and published as part of the report. This letter also encloses "a new map of the Portage Group, as far east as the Naples Valley." The map is hand-drawn on coated linen, in black, blue, and red ink, though as Luther noted in pencil, he still needed to mark most of the Oatka Valley stations. There is also one line still marked in pencil, with a question mark at the center, as Luther says again in this letter, "I am in doubt as to the correlation of those beds." The map does not appear to have been used in the publication of the report, though Luther "tried to show all of the sub-divisions mentioned in the paper."

Both letters are written on 10.5" x 8" 'standard school paper' and neatly signed "Yours truly, D.D. Luther." Both segments of the manuscript draft report are written on that same paper, with Luther's pencil diagram on plain, unlined paper measuring approximately 7.75" x 9.75". The map, on light blue/gray coated linen, measures approximately 10.5" x 26.25" Also includes the postally used transmittal envelope, measuring approximately 10" x 12.5" Item #A00675

Daniel Dana Luther (1840-1923), was a teacher, business owner, and prominent community leader in the area of Naples, New York. He had a true, lifelong passion for geology and paleontology, and in 1891 he became associated with the New York State Museum. He was appointed a Field Geologist in 1900, a position he kept until 1915, mapping much of the geology of western and central New York in that time. He is best known for discovering the "Naples Tree" - a 380 million year old fossilized tree from one of the world's earliest forests.

John M. Clarke (1857-1925) was Luther's nephew. Unlike his uncle, he was able to obtain a college degree in geology. He taught for a number of years before becoming an assistant to James Hall at the New York State Museum in 1886. On Hall's death in 1898, Clarke became New York's State Paleontologist.In 1904 he was also named State Geologist, Director of the State Museum, and Director of the Science Division at NYSED.

Condition: Letter 1: Light soil along the upper edges; a couple of very small tears at the perimeter. Generally very good. Main Draft: Some light soil on some pages; a couple of pages have creases or very small tears at the perimeter; small puncture on page 1; no paper loss, and generally in very good condition. Letter 2: Light soil, particularly along the left and upper edges; creases and a few tiny tears at the perimeter; area of paper loss in the lower right corner, including a couple of easily-guessed words of text. Draft of Stations: Lightly toned, otherwise very good. Diagram: The top edge is creased and has two small tears; light soil. Generally very good. Map: two pin-sized holes in the blank Canadian area on the far side of Lake Erie; three small, light, scattered stains; heavy fold lines. Generally in very good condition, and could be nicely displayed. Envelope: Crudely opened and well battered over time, still fits around the rest of this great collection.