For something a little different today, instead of profiling a historic document that has been digitized, I’m instead going to introduce you to a brand new digital publication — but one that sends the reader on a journey from the past to the present.
Hayden’s Landscapes Revisited: The Drawings of the Great Colorado Survey, by Thomas P. Huber, is an open-access publication from the University Press of Colorado. There is no hard copy of this “book” — it is an online publication that uses digital imagery to capture the drawings of the Hayden Survey and compare them to the same Colorado landscapes today. “This publication is neither meant to be a comprehensive history of Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden nor his survey,” writes the author. “[It] is about place and how we look at it and how we are affected by it. I use the Hayden Survey as a departure point in describing Colorado past and Colorado present.” Huber is a professor of geography at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
Hayden, a scientist and geologist as well as a military surgeon during the Civil War, had made extensive surveys of the landscapes of the West, including Yellowstone. The Yellowstone expeditions were made famous in the paintings of Thomas Moran, who accompanied Hayden on his surveys. After Yellowstone became a National Park, Hayden switched his attention to Colorado, conducting extensive surveys from 1873 to 1877.
The Hayden expeditions resulted in numerous reports and documents, but among the most interesting materials are the drawings and illustrations, including many by Moran, that were made of Colorado’s landscapes. In Huber’s publication, he reproduces these illustrations alongside present-day photographs of the same location. For both old and new, the digital images can be enhanced to provide stunning visual detail on the selected landscapes. The publication also includes an extensive bibliography for further reading on Hayden’s and other explorations of the West.