Panoramic View of Yellowstone National Park

John H. Renshawe / United States Geological Survey, PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING-MONTANA-IDAHO. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Interior, [1915.]
Lithograph, 20 ¾”h x 18 ¼”w at neat line plus title and margins. Lined to reinforce long separations along old folds, with a few tiny losses. Good only.

A spectacular bird’s-eye view of Yellowstone National Park, prepared by John H. Renshawe (1852-1934) from topographic sheets of the United States Geological Survey.

Established in 1872 on more than 2.2 million acres in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park was the first of its kind in the United States and is thought by many to be the first anywhere in the world. The park is famed for its spectacular scenery, charismatic megafauna, and geological wonders including the Yellowstone Caldera, whose eruption could well wipe out the United States if the murder hornets don’t get us first.

To create this view, long-time USGS employee John H. Renshawe adapted existing topographic mapping of the area, most notably replacing contour lines with gradations of color to indicate relief. The result is a striking full-color image of the park, including noteworthy topographical features, rivers, roads, trails and other points of interest. Though lacking the precision of the USGS’ topographic maps, the technique “brings the maps to life. One immediately gets a sense of the three dimensional nature of the landscape allowing the viewer to see the topography, drainage patterns, vegetation, snow cover, and the beauty inherent in these parks.” (David Rumsey Map Center, “Views: Portraying Place and Space”)

The view is undated but government records indicate that it was published in 1915 (See Catalogue of the Public Documents of the Sixty-Third Congress and of all Departments of the Government of the United States from July 1, 1913 to June 30, 1915, p. 976.)

Renshawe prepared several similar views, including for example Glacier, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain and Yosemite National Parks. Though they are widely held in American institutions, all are very rare on the market.

OCLC 41590805 et al, dating this view of Yellowstone National Park to anywhere from 1885[]!!!] to 1920. The failings of OCLC make it impossible to give a firm number of institutional holdings, but I would guess fewer than 20.