In the Cartouche, we see a stylized version of the New Jersey coat of arms, as well as the map’s scale and prominent creators. Central to the creation of the map was the statewide, county-by-county geological survey led by Morris County native and Morristown resident William Kitchell.
Kitchell (1827-1861) was a non-practicing medical doctor who was a teacher at Newark Institute when he was appointed State Geologist and Director of the NJ Geological Survey in 1854. Prior to his appointment, the last survey report had been published in 1840, and the office of State Geologist had not existed for 14 years.
Kitchell surveyed the northern part of the state and appointed George H. Cook, the professor of Chemistry and Natural Science at Rutgers College, to survey the southern half.
Kitchell’s work is notable in a number of ways. For instance, he organized the first state-sponsored topographic survey in the United States. However, his county-by-county surveying plan was too ambitious, and by 1856, the state legislature had cut his funding and the office of State Geologist. Four years later, with the help of the State Agricultural Society, Kitchell gained state approval to continue the survey work, but at his own expense.
After Kitchell died suddenly of pneumonia in 1861, Cook took over the work (also without pay) until 1864, when he impressed the state legislature enough with his report that they repaid him his expenses, restored funding for the Survey, and appointed him State Geologist.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Local History Librarian, Chester Public Library, 250 W. Main Street, Chester, NJ 07930.
Exhibit Publication Date: Published in 2014. ©Copyright Chester Public Library 2014.