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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

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Thomas Moran, GRAND CANYON OF THE YELLOWSTONE (n.d.). Courtesy Yellowstone National Park.

Creator Thomas Moran
Context An 1871 U.S. Geological expedition to survey the sources of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers
Audience U.S. Geological Survey, Congress, and (later) the general public
Purpose To depict Yellowstone's geologic features and landscapes

Historical Significance

As part of a U.S. Geological Survey expedition, artist Thomas Moran spent forty days documenting the grandeur, beauty, and unique geologic features and landscapes at thirty different sites within the Yellowstone region. When supporters of making Yellowstone a national park presented his watercolors to Congress, the watercolors helped persuade many members of Congress of the value in preserving this landscape for future generations. Seven months after the Hayden Survey ended, Congress established Yellowstone National Park. By 1916, Congress established the National Park System.

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