Survey of Western Palestine:
Rare and Expensive, but Now (Mostly) Free
For years I have desired my own copy of the Survey of Western Palestine, a series of volumes that describe the land as it was in the 1870s in extraordinary detail. Alas, they are extremely difficult to find. Daily searches for the set on the internet for more than a decade have been fruitless, with possibly one exception ($10,000+). In 1999, Archive Editions produced a facsimile edition, but they have been charging £3,995 ($5,956) for it. Some years ago I found a copy of just the maps for sale in Germany and purchased them immediately. That later became the SWP Maps volume in the Historic Views series ($35 here). But my thirst for the complete set has gone unsatisfied.
A few weeks ago, however, an electronic edition of one of the volumes was offered for sale by an internet bookseller. I made the $10 purchase, only to discover that the bookseller was illegally selling a Microsoft scan. But that alerted me to their existence, and now I have identified electronic versions for 10 of the 13 volumes. Of the other volumes, two are already resources available from BiblePlaces.com (the maps volume, mentioned above, and the General Index volume). Another volume is in the late stages of preparation. So while we're not quite there, this should be enough to give you a jump on your summer reading.
If you want them all, I've made it easy by creating one large zip file (175 MB).
An Introduction to the Survey of Western Palestine: Its Waterways, Plains, & Highlands (1881), by T. Saunders (pdf)
The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology: Galilee (Volume 1) (1881), by C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener (pdf)
The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology: Samaria (Volume 2) (1882), by C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener (pdf)
The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology: Judea (Volume 3) (1883), by C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener (pdf)
The Survey of Western Palestine: The Fauna and Flora of Palestine (1885), by H. B. Tristram (pdf).
The Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists Collected during the Survey(1881), by E. H. Palmer (pdf)
Special Papers on Topography, Archaeology, Manners and Customs, etc. (1881), by C. Wilson, C. Warren, C. R. Conder, et al. (pdf)
The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoir on the Physical Geology and Geography of Arabia Petraea (1886), by E. H. Hull (pdf)
Survey of Eastern Palestine: Topography, Orography, Hydrography and Archaeology: The Adwan Country (1889), by C. R. Conder (pdf)
Available from BiblePlaces.com:
Map of Western Palestine in 26 Sheets from Surveys Conducted for the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, by C. R. Conder and H. H. Kitchener (1880). The CD edition also includes the map from the Survey of Eastern Palestine (info, order)
Forthcoming from BiblePlaces.com:
Excavations at Jerusalem 1867-70 (50 Plates), by C. Warren.
UPDATE (Feb 2014): This article has been updated to reflect additional volumes now available.