First Edition, Early Printing. In two volumes, complete. Quite rare, especially in this condition. Overall, very good plus original publisher's cloth, gilt-decorated front covers and spine. Bindings square and tight with no cocking. Head and foot of spines worn, with chipping on the head of each volume. Boards and interior foxed (although not in a way that detracts from the text, and not nearly as bad as many copies). 4to. Vol. 1, 459 pp.; vol. 2, 478 pp. A great copy of this scarce and seminal work of exploration.
Famous accounting of the travels and explorations of John Stephens and William Catherwood to Central America starting in 1839. This popular work provided the first glimpses of Mayan culture to the public. Based upon the detailed descriptions of Mayan archaeology and the superb illustrations based upon Dagerreotype views and drawings by Catherwood, all future works on the Mayan people were based upon these accounts. Profusely illustrated with 120 engravings, many full-page, plus 2 large folding frontispieces and folding maps, one in each volume. Stephens' first journey, originally a diplomatic visit on behalf of President Van Buren, was cut short by his illness, and his first work on Central and South America was published in 1841. This book, the narrative of his second trip, became the inspiration for a generation of travelers to the area. They account for over forty ruins, including illustrating imposing temples, pyramids, and other structures built by a nearly extinct Mayan population. Catherwood's incredible artistry set the standard for archaeological illustration.