Seeing Underground Synopsis
The digging of mineral wealth from the ground dates to prehistoric times, and Europeans pursued mining in the Americas from the earliest colonial days. Prior to the Civil War, very little mining went deep enough to require maps. However, the major finds of the mid-nineteenth century, such as the Comstock Lode, were vastly larger and deeper than any previous finds in America. Nystrom argues that, as industrial mining came of age in the United States, the development of maps and models gave power to a new visual culture. These maps and models became necessary tools in creating and controlling the mines' pitch-dark, three-dimensional space. Nystrom demonstrates that these neglected artifacts of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have much to teach us today.
Seeing Underground Press Reviews
There are no other works that explore maps and models and their relationship with the industrialization of mining--it is a significant contribution. --David Wolff, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Black Hills State University The book is well written, with extensive endnotes (42 pages), a bibliography (20 pages), and suitable illustrations. Highly recommended. --Choice-- Choice No previous historian has attempted anything like Nystrom's study. This book will be the standard reference for information on the history of mine mapping for years to come. --Terry Reynolds, Professor of history, Emeritus, at Michigan Technological University Eric C. Nystrom has written a history of these underground maps, of their meanings, how they were drawn, how engineers and lawyers made use of them, and how historians can make use of them. In doing so he has opened a new world of visual culture and archival sources that scholars have largely dismissed. We owe him a scholarly debt for showing their value. --American Historical Review -- American Historical Review Seeing Underground makes a significant contribution to the history of mining and mining engineering [and] is a solid piece of scholarship on a little-studied subject. --Technology and Culture-- Technology and Culture Seeing Underground is an excellent addition to the literature on mining history for historians, engineers, and geologists. --Pacific Historical Review -- Pacific Historical Review Seeing Underground is a well-argued, tightly structured study that goes beyond mining historians' usual use of the visual culture of mine maps and models as evidence to explore how this visual culture was also an actor, effecting change, not merely reflecting it. . . his (Nystrom's) work is especially valuable for linking the rise of visual culture and the rise of professions and showing how visual culture was used as a tool to gain power. Nystrom reinforces the importance of visual culture in the second half of the nineteenth century. --The Journal of American History-- The Journal of American History Seeing Underground is a gem of a book with an engaging, captivating angle: How do you visualize and imagine space where there is no light? Add to this Eric C. Nystrom's easy, jargon-free writing style and the mind of the nineteenth century mining engineer becomes a celebration of cartographic genius. --Western Historical Quarterly-- Western Historical Quarterly Eric Nystrom's book is a welcome addition to understanding American underground and anthracite mining technology and engineering and its professionalization in the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries. The historiographical explorations make it a valuable contribution to the history of science as well as technology. --Isis: A Journal of the History of Science Society Seeing Undergound is the winner of the 2015 Mining History Assoication's Clark Spence Award for the best book on mining history. -- Mining History Assoication