Titan of Chasms

This booklet consists of three essays plus information about getting to and enjoying the Grand Canyon. The first essay was by Charles A. Higgins, who until his untimely death in 1900 was in charge of Santa Fe advertising. He had personally hiked all of the trails and escorted artists, scientists, and others through the Grand Canyon. In 1892, he wrote an essay, “Grand CaƱon of the Colorado River,” which the Santa Fe published with drawings by Thomas Moran and other artists.

Click image to download an 18.6-MB PDF of this 36-page booklet.

In 1902, the Santa Fe published an abridged version of that essay, titled “Titan of Chasms,” with the two other essays included here. This was reprinted for eight or nine years; this one is dated 1909.

The second essay in the booklet is titled “The Scientific Explorer” and is supposedly by John Wesley Powell, who led the first expedition down the Colorado River in 1869. I say “supposedly” because I think the Santa Fe merely extracted this essay from Powell’s reports to Congress, adding in a paragraph of introductory or transitional material here and there. Powell died in 1902, and since his reports were paid for by the government, they were not copyrighted.

The third essay is titled “The Greatest Thing in the World” and is by Charles Fletcher Lummis, a journalist and advocate for Indian rights and historic preservation. Lummis had been an editor of the Los Angeles Times but moved to New Mexico for health reasons in 1886 and worked as a freelance writer on Southwest topics.

While this is a 1909 edition, you can find 1902, 1903, and 1906 editions on archive.org. As near as I can tell, the only differences between them are the dates and a curious phrase above the date: “Fifteenth Thousand” in 1902; “Fortieth Thousand” in 1903; “One Hundred and Twentieth Thousand” in 1904; “One Hundred and Ninetieth Thousand” in 1906; and “Three Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand” in 1909. These aren’t a record of how many of these booklets Santa Fe had distributed; a print code in the back of each one says “5M” (in 1903) or “10M” (in later years), so I’m not sure what the number in front refers to.

Click image to download a 10.1-MB PDF of this book from archive.org. The cover of this book is from a paining by Thomas Moran lithographically reproduced in seven colors.

The last page of each of these editions says, “The Santa Fe has just published a new and beautiful book on the Grand Canyon” with the three essays in this book plus essays by fifteen more writers. The railroad sold this book of more than 100 pages for 50 cents; you can download the book, which is titled Grand Canyon of Arizona, from archive.org.


Titan of Chasms — 2 Comments

  1. Drat! The link to your PDF is not working. The booklet from Archive.org is wholly unsatisfactory. It’s filled with extraneous blank pages and is incredibly slow to load and scan. I find this often to be the case with PDF’s from that site. You do a much better job with your PDF’s.


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