About the Hitchcock Atlas

The “Atlas to Accompany the Report on the Geology of New Hampshire”, 1878, contains nineteen plates.

Six plates show the bedrock geology of New Hampshire and portions of adjacent states (designated here as “Northwest”, “West-Central”, “Southwest”, “Northeast”, “East-Central”, and “Southeast” Sheets).

Five plates depict the state’s topography overlain by significant surficial features related to glaciation. There is no “Northwest” surficial sheet (this area lies entirely within the state of Vermont).

One is a detailed map of the gold-bearing rocks of the “Ammonosuc Mining District” and two are reproductions of earlier state maps (Holland, 1784 and Carrigain, 1816).

Three additional plates depict panoramic views from prominent New Hampshire peaks, including Mt. Washington, and ranging from Mt. Monadnock in the southwest to lesser known peaks in northern New Hampshire.

The remaining plates are the title page and the original advertisement for sale of the Atlas.

In addition to their geologic value, the maps in the Atlas predate the earliest USGS topographic maps of the state and provide a useful overview of roads and settlements in the state in the 1870’s.

Who was Charles Hitchcock?


Charles H. Hitchcock (1836-1919) served as New Hampshire State Geologist from 1868 to 1878. Hitchcock’s survey produced a three-volume work, “The Geology of New Hampshire” (1874-1878), and the folio, “Atlas to Accompany the Geology…” (1878). The maps in the atlas comprise the first detailed, comprehensive map of the bedrock and surficial geology of the state.

Hitchcock began teaching at Dartmouth College in 1868 and held the Hall Professorship of Geology and Mineralogy from 1869-1908. From 1868 until 1893 the predecessor of the University of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, was located in Hanover. The two colleges shared facilities in Culver Hall.

Hitchcock’s students nicknamed him “Type” because he described and named so many of the rock units in the state and designated their “type localities” (the places where they are well exposed in their most typical forms). Most of these rock formation names are still in use.

He is an exemplar of the 19th century geologist who made contributions in a wide range of fields. His accomplishments include fieldwork in paleontology, bedrock and glacial geology, economic geology, and volcanology. He also synthesized others’ research resulting in compilation of significant maps at both state and national levels.

Note: The image is the frontispiece to the Dec. 1898 issue of "Appleton's Popular Science Monthly".

More on Charles Hitchcock

About the Images

The digitized version of the Hitchcock Atlas of New Hampshire Geology was developed as a project of The Digital Library at the University of New Hampshire.

The images are presented as jpegs scanned at 200 dpi in 24-bit color on a Microtek ScanMaker 9600XL. They were scanned in pieces and stitched together with PanaVue ImageAssembler and optimized with Adobe Photoshop. They are optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher. If you are using earlier versions of IE, or Netscape, save images prior to printing.

The images are also offered in MrSID format.

More About the New Hampshire Geology

Copies of most of the works listed below can be found in the UNH Library.

Maps

It is interesting to compare the maps in Hitchcock’s “Atlas” with modern geological maps of the state. The broad outlines of the various maps are similar.

In 1997 New Hampshire Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, published a new bedrock map of the state, “Bedrock Geology Map of New Hampshire”.

Simplified images from this map can be viewed at:
http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/publications/geologic/do...

The 1997 map updates the previous bedrock state map compiled by M.P. Billings in 1955.

The most recent surficial/glacial map of the entire state of New Hampshire, “Surficial Geology of New Hampshire”, dates from 1950. However, a number of newer 1:24,000-scale maps are available for some sections of the state.

Books

The only book comparable to Hitchcock’s, summarizing the geology of the entire state is a three-volume work, titled “The Geology of New Hampshire”. It consists of Part 1 – Surficial Geology, J.W. Goldthwait, et al., 1951; Part 2 – Bedrock Geology, M.P. Billings, 1956; Part 3 – T.R. Meyers and G.W. Steward, 1956.

Part 1 expands upon J.W. Goldthwait’s 1925 work, which was written for a more popular audience. The 1925 book has been digitized by Dartmouth College. http://dcisweb.dartmouth.edu/acme/geology.new.hampshire.pdf

Other Sources

Additional publications of the New Hampshire Geological Survey can be found at the Department of Environmental Services web site:
http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/publications/geologic/in...

The New Hampshire Geological Society maintains a web page devoted to New Hampshire geology. http://nhgs.org/NHGS/NHgeol.html

Selected Additional Sources About Hitchcock

University of New Hampshire Library call numbers follow the citations.

Anon., 1898. Sketch of Charles Henry Hitchcock. Appleton’s Popular Science Monthly: v. 54, p. 260- 268 and portrait preceding p. 145.
UNH: Periodicals / Q1 / .P64.

Aldrich, M.L., 2001. Orra White Hitchcock (1796-1863) geological illustrator: Another Belle of Amherst. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs: v. 33 (6), p. 246.
UNH: Periodicals / QE1 / .G19.

Hitchcock, C.H. and Blake, W.P., 1872. Geological Map of the United States Compiled for the 9th Census. 1 sheet. In: Ninth Census, Volume 3. The Statistics of the Wealth and Industry of the United States.
UNH: Docs Reference / C3.223/0:1870/v.3.

Hitchcock, C.H., 1874-1878. The Geology of New Hampshire: A Report Comprising the Results of Explorations Ordered by the Legislature. Concord, NH: State Printer. 5 pt. in 3 v.
UNH: Special Collections or Loan-Call / QE139 .A16 / 1874.

Hitchcock, C.H., 1878. Atlas Accompanying the Report of the Geology of New Hampshire. New York: Julius Bien. 17 leaves.
UNH: Map Room Historic Maps and Special Collections / QE139 / .A16 / 1874.
[This is the original used to produce the images at this web site.]

King, A.L., 1985a. Hitchcock’s relief models of New Hampshire and Vermont. Dartmouth College Library Bulletin: new series v. 25 (2), p. 101-104.
UNH: Special Collections New Hamp/ Z881 / .H25b.

King, A.L., 1985b. Hitchcock’s “lost” relief map. Dartmouth College Library Bulletin: new series v. 26 (1), p. 31-36.
UNH: Special Collections New Hamp / Z881 / .H25b.

King, A.L., 1990. Hitchcock’s relief map of New Hampshire: A new discovery. Dartmouth College Library Bulletin: new series v. 31 (1), p. 32-33.
UNH: Special Collections New Hamp / Z881 / H25b.
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/Library_Bulletin/Nov1990/LB-N90-King.htm accessed 2/2/2002.

Naslund, C.T., 1985. “Type” Hitchcock: Dartmouth professor, New England mapmaker, and nineteenth-century scientist. Dartmouth College Library Bulletin: new series v. 25 (2), p. 92-100.
UNH: Special Collections New Hamp / Z881 / .H25b.

Newell, J.R., 2001. The Hitchcock family: A case study in patterns of geological training and employment in Antebellum America. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs: v. 33 (6), p. 245-246.
UNH: Periodicals / QE 1 / .G19.

Upham, W., 1920. Memorial of Charles Henry Hitchcock. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America: v. 31, p. 64-80.
UNH: Periodicals / QE 1 / .G2.

Waterman, L. and G. Waterman, 1989. Forest and Crag: History of Hiking, Trail Blazing, and Adventure in the Northeast Mountains. Appalachian Mountain Club.
UNH: Level 4 / GV 199.42 / .N38 W38 / 1989.

Waterman, L. and G. Waterman, 1994. Charles H. Hitchcock and the Geological Survey of New Hampshire (part 1) [excerpted with permission from Waterman, L. and G. Waterman, 1989. Forest and Crag: History of Hiking, Trail Blazing, and Adventure in the Northeast Mountains. Appalachian Mountain Club]. The Granite State Geologist: n. 7, January 1994.
http://nhgs.org/NHGS/TGSG.07.html accessed 1/30/2002.

Waterman, L. and G. Waterman, 1994. Charles H. Hitchcock and the Geological Survey of New Hampshire (part 1) [excerpted with permission from Waterman, L. and G. Waterman, 1989. Forest and Crag: History of Hiking, Trail Blazing, and Adventure in the Northeast Mountains. Appalachian Mountain Club]. The Granite State Geologist: n. 8, April 1994.
http://nhgs.org/NHGS/TGSG.08.html accessed 1/30/2002.

Use and Reproduction

See our Conditions of Use.

Acknowledgements

This brief summary of Hitchcock’s life and work is drawn from the sources listed in the section “Additional Sources”.

Dr. Wallace A. Bothner and Dr. Peter J. Thompson, Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, made valuable suggestions, as did Linda Johnson, Head of the UNH Library Government Information Department.

Russell Bastedo, NH State Curator, and Michael York, NH State Librarian, provided information about the topographical models of New Hampshire. Barbara DeFelice and David A. Pantalony of Dartmouth College reviewed this text and contacted Allen King regarding details about Dartmouth’s topographic model.

Meredith Ricker, Government Information Department, University of New Hampshire Library, scanned the images and created the web site.

Text by Thelma Thompson, Government Documents Librarian, University of New Hampshire Library, August 20, 2002, revised January 16, 2008.

Timothy Frye and Robert Wolff, Technical Support.