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The Physiography of the United States (1896)

As I had commented in this group before, I am in possession of a copy of the compilation, "The Physiography of the United States".  While the book was printed in 1896, it is an assembly of ten monographs written for, and distributed by, the National Geographic Society in 1895.  Even though the Society did print two issues of the magazine that year, they were the last "red bricks" and were stragglers from Volume VI (i.e. 1894).  The society used this year to gear up for producing monthly issues starting with Volume VII in 1986.  Apparently they took advantage of this lull to publish these monographs as pamphlets.

In addition to the ten monographs, this book has some additional features that are not well documented.  Like a bound magazine volume, this book contains a Title Page, a Table of Contents, and a nine-page Index.  It also contains a Preface (not shown).  As with the magazine, the TP, TC, and Preface (appendix) are numbered lower-case Roman while the Index is numbered cardinally immediately following the last page of the last monograph.

Title Page

Table of Content

Index (1st Page)

Now to the question I have regarding this book.  Were the title page, preface, table of content, and index created especially for this book -or- were they included as an appendix in the last monograph as was the practice with the magazine?  Only someone who has the last monograph, "The Southern Appalachians", as an individual pamphlet can answer this question.

Or could the society have printed these items as a separate, "eleventh", monograph?  Has anyone heard of such a printed item?

Tom Wilson

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Replies to This Discussion


Nice post to, well, post !  Ye got tied of waiting for me eh? Good thought about their using the "lull" of 1895 to work on these. The query RE: the housekeeping pages (as opposed to content) is a good one and I await some certain persons who'll hopefully see this and feel like sharing an interesting answer. You're right, someone needs to have the single monograph copies to know. 

"...features not well documented..." , well yeah, not even Buxbaum's or Nathan's books got that detailed. This is exactly the kind of discussion I had in mind (starting w/ Physiography...) when I created this sub-group.

~ Scott 


I believe that the "housekeeping pages" were strictly for this book.  I have two bound sets of the monographs that do not include any of the housekeeping pages and I have two complete sets of loose monographs with none of those pages.  Of note, I have two of the second printings of your book, one without an index.  None of my #10 monographs include any of these pages.

There are a few variants our there as well.  There is a #3 issue without the #3 and there is a #7 and is reddish tan in color that has a different format that all my others.  I don't know if this was a prototype or what.


Thanks for the info, Jeff.

I asked this question regarding a loose index for the ten 1895 Monographs in February of 2017.  Now, five years later, I finally have a definitive answer.  Though not documented by Buxbaum, Nathan, Smith, or anyone else, this item does exist.  One copy of it recently went on sale and was purchased by a fellow member of the 'Corner.  See his POST announcing this find.

It is very satisfying that an item of ephemera can still, at this late date, be theorized and then be "discovered".  It gives me hope that another of my theorized items, a Map Index for the May 1921 supplement map of Asia, might still be out there in the offing.

Yours in Collecting,

Tom Wilson



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