The NOAA Central Library houses a special archive of more than
5,000 rare historical books. Many of these date to the 18th
and 19th Centuries, and some are even earlier. This collection
includes works from the archive that have special significance
to the historical record of ocean exploration. The collection
is divided chronologically into three eras: pre-1846, 1846-1922,
and 1923-1945. Each entry includes the author, title, publication
information, year of publication, significance to ocean exploration,
and NOAA Central Library call number.
Tracts consisting of observations about the saltness of
the sea: an account of a statical hygroscope and
its uses: together with an appendix about the force
of the air's moisture: a fragment about the natural
and preternatural state of bodies / by the Honourable
Robert Boyle; to all which is premis'd a sceptical
dialogue about the positive or privative nature of
cold; with some experiments of Mr. Boyle's referr'd
to in that discourse by a member of the Royal Society
London: Printed by E. Flesher for R. Davis, Bookseller in Oxford
One of the first treatises on chemical oceanography
Vancouver, George, 1757-1798
A voyage of discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and
round the world in which the coast of north-west
America has been carefully examined and accurately
surveyed, undertaken by His Majesty's command, principally
with a view to ascertain the existence of any navigable
communication between the North Pacific and North
Atlantic oceans, and performed in the years 1790,
1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, and 1795, in the Discovery
sloop of war, and armed tender Chatham, under the
command of Captain George Vancouver ...
London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson
George Vancouver disproved any possibility of a Northwest
Passage at a temperate latitude; surveyed much of
the northwest coast of North America
G420.V22 1798, 3 vol.
Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877
Narrative of the United States exploring expedition.
During the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. By Charles Wilkes ...
With illustrations and maps. In five volumes...
Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard
U.S. Congress sent an exploring expedition to the
Pacific Ocean and South Seas from 1838-1842 to enhance
the country's commerce and science, and to compete
with famous British and French explorers.
Q115.U48 1845, 5 vol.
Higginson, Francis, b. 1799
The ocean, its unfathomable depths and natural phenomena
: comprising authentic narratives and strange reminiscences
of enterprise, delusion, and delinquency : with the
voyage and discoveries of Her Majesty's Ship Cyclops
London: Edward Stanford ...,
of attempt to lay down a transatlantic cable.
Deep sea soundings in the north Atlantic Ocean between
Ireland and Newfoundland : made in H.M.S. Cyclops, Lieut.-Commander
Joseph Dayman, in June and July 1857.
London: Eyre and Spottiswoode
posthumously. Espoused concept that life did not
exist below 300 fathoms.
GC87.2.G7 D4 1858
Edward Forbes, 1815-1854
The natural history of the european seas
London: John Van Voorst
Espoused concept that life did not exist below 300 fathoms.
Bache, A. D. (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867
Gulf Stream explorations. Third memoir, Distribution of
temperature in the water of the Florida channel and straits
From the American Journal of Science and Arts, vol. XXIX,
March 1860, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Results of Coast Survey's gulf stream explorations up until
upon deep-sea dredgings in the Gulf Stream during
the third cruise of the United States Steamer BIBB.
Fauna of the submarine zones; reef zone; sedimentary
zone; coral slope of living cretacean types; floor
of foraminiferine mud; geological inferences; inclination
of the reefs; pot holes; formation of oolithic, amorphous,
and compact limestones; embryology of corals and
formation of colonies by disk embranchment; extinct
forms representing modern developmental transitions;
lines to be dredged, Appendix No. 10, Report of the
Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey for 1869,
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office
of dredging work done by the Coast Survey's Louis
Francois Pourtales, who came to America with Louis
George E. (George Eugene), 1832-1903
soundings in the North Pacific Ocean, obtained in
the United States Steamer Tuscarora
D.C. : U.S. Government Printing Office
use of Thomson wiresounding instrument was on the
Thomson, C. Wyville (Charles Wyville), Sir, 1830-1882
voyage of the Challenger: the Atlantic: a
preliminary account of the general results of the
exploring voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during
the year 1873 and the early part of the year 1876
York : Harper & Brothers
The voyage of the Challenger was the first global
Number:Q115.C59 1878 2 vol.
of publications relating to the deep-sea investigations
carried on in the vicinity of the coasts of the United
States under the auspices of the Coast Survey Appendix
No. 23, Report of the Superintendent of the United
States Coast Survey for 1876, p. 407-409
Government Printing Office
List of Coast Survey publications from 1850-1870 relating
the agency's explorations of the depths of the sea
and marine life.
Wyville Thompson, Sir John Murray, George S. Nares,
and Frank Tourle Thompson
on the scientific results of the voyage of H.M.S.
Challenger during the years 1873-76 under the command
of Captain George S. Nares, R.N., F.R.S. and the
late Captain Frank Tourle Thomson, R.N./prepared
under the superintendence of the late Sir C. Wyville
Thompson, and now of John Murray; published by order
of Her majesty's Government
Edinburgh: printed for H.M. Stationery off.
The Challenger expedition was the first global oceanographic
1880, vols. 1, 2, 9, 13, 15, 20, 21, 25, 1880 summary,
pts. 2 and 2
Agassiz, Alexander (1835-1910)
contribution to American thalassography: three cruises
of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer Blake, in
the Gulf of Mexico, in the Caribbean sea, and along
the Atlantic coast of the United States, from 1877
to 1880 (2 volumes)
and New York : Houghton, Mifflin and Company ;Cambridge
: The Riverside Press
The Blake was
the first sip to use stell wire for deep-sea dredging.
QH93.A26 1888, 2 vol.
Pillsbury, John Elliott, 1846-1919
Physical hydrology. Gulf Stream explorations,
observations of currents, 1888 and 1889, Appendix No. 16,
Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Coast and Geodetic Survey for 1889
Government Printing Office
anchoring up to 2,200 fathoms made possible this
classic study of the Gulf Stream.
GC296.G9 P55 1890
United States, Bureau of Fisheries
Dredging and hydrographic records of the U.S. Fisheries Steamer
Albatross for 1904 and 1905.
Washington: Government Printing OfficeYear
biological specimens, dredging, hydrographic and
meteorologic observations, in three regions, (1)
the southern portion of the California coast, (2)
the eastern Pacific Ocean, and (3) the Pacific coast
of North America between Seattle and Wrangell Island.
QH91.57.R47 A4 1901
United States, Bureau of Fisheries
Dredging and hydrographic records of the U.S. Fisheries Steamer Albatross for
Washington: Government Printing Office
The Albatross investigated
the Bering Sea, the eastern coast of Kamchatka, the
Japanese coast, and the Sea of Japan during its cruise
De la Surface aux Abimes (From the surface to the bottom
of the sea)
Paris: Librairie Ch. Delagrave
Albert the First of Monaco sponsored extensive oceanographic
expeditions. This work contains photos taken on some
of these expeditions.
Bigelow, Henry Bryant, 1879-
of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer Bache in
the western Atlantic, January-March, 1914, under
the direction of the United States, Bureau of Fisheries
D.C. : U.S. Government.Printing Office
of deep ocean biological and physical oceanographic
studies conducted cooperatively by Coast Survey and
Bureau of Fisheries.
Paul Harland, b. 1900
last cruise of the Carnegie, by J. Harland Paul...with
a foreward by John A. Fleming
The Williams & Wilkins Company
Papers Number 7
Carnegie was the first ship built soley for oceanic
geophysical research. To study the earth's magnetic
field at sea, the ship was built from the keel up
to be totally non-magnetic.
Vetch, A.C. and P.A. Smith
submarine valleys of the United States and the Congo
York, N.Y.: Geological Society of America
Papers Number 7
A study of the submarine topography off the eastern
coast of the United States, as well as the Congo