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Maury, M. F.

The Physical Geography of the Sea

  • Seventh edition of this major text of oceanography, originally published in 1855. An attractive copy, the cloth unusually bright and fresh.

    The Physical Geography of the Sea was the first comprehensive, scientific work on the characteristics and behaviour of the oceans. Its author, Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) was a Naval officer, librarian, meteorologist, astronomer, and one of the founders of modern oceanography. As Superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory, he recognised the importance of the Naval Office’s collection of log books, and undertook the task of organising this library so that its data could be published and used to improve seamanship and the understanding of the oceans. Maury instituted a key reporting system so that weather and current data could be relayed to his office from around country, and he promoted international standards for data collection and distribution. Maury studied the migrations of whales, and from this developed the concept of the Northwest Passage; he also developed the concept of ocean lanes for shipping traffic. The Physical Geography of the Sea was his most important publication, and for many years the standard work on the subject.

  • ...With the author’s latest additions

    London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1860.

    Octavo. Original purple cloth blocked in gilt and blind with seaweed motif, yellow coated endpapers. 13 plates and charts printed in blue on 12 leaves, of which 10 are folding. Armorial bookplate, Pall Mall Gazette clipping on the author tipped-in on the first page of the introduction, contemporary ownership inscription to the verso of the front free endpaper and some notes in the same hand (on waves in the Atlantic) on the recto. Cloth just a little rubbed but fresh and bright, spine toned, occasional light spots to contents. Very good condition.

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