WILKES, Charles. Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Philadelphia: Printed by C. Sherman, 1844 (first three volumes). Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1845 (last two volumes). Five text volumes, with the five folding maps (two colored) called for in the atlas volume bound into the fourth text volume. Engraved portraits, plates, and maps, with original tissue guards intact. Thick quarto. Contemporary green morocco stamped in gilt, expertly rebacked with original backstrips preserved (except second volume, which is rebacked in matching style), spines in six compartments, richly gilt, gilt inner dentelles, a.e.g. Slight offsetting on the large folding maps, several neatly repaired along folds. A very good set. HASKELL, UNITED STATES EXPLORING EXPEDITION 1, 2A, 17A. HOWES W414. David B. Tyler, THE WILKES EXPEDITION (Philadelphia, 1968). Herman J. Viola, ed., MAGNIFICENT VOYAGERS, THE U.S. EXPLORING EXPEDITION, 1838-1842 (Washington, 1985). HILL, pp.600-2. SABIN 103994. One of the great rarities of Pacific voyages, here in a mixed set of the true first edition and the first quarto edition of the narrative of the first great scientific expedition sponsored by the government of the United States. The first three volumes of the present set consist of the special Sherman edition of 100 copies, which is the true first edition and was issued for private distribution. The final two volumes are of the Lea and Blanchard printing, which was limited to 150 copies and was preceded only by the Sherman edition. The Lea and Blanchard edition is on the same format as the Sherman edition, and differs only in the preliminary material. The United States Exploring Expedition circumnavigated the globe under the command of Charles Wilkes between the summer of 1838 and the summer of 1842 (for a detailed account of the voyage, see the sources cited below). In July 1842, almost immediately upon his return, Wilkes began work on the narrative, drawing on all of the data and logs assembled by the members of the expedition. This took two years, but by August 1844 the first volume was in the press, and the whole set was ready for binding by the end of the year. The first "Sherman edition," in large quarto format, consisted of only 100 copies for the use of the government, and is easily distinguished by.