DescriptionJohn Russell Bartlett. Personal Narrative of Explorations and Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, California, Sonora, and Chihuahua, Connected with the United States and Mexican Boundary Commission, During the Years 1850, '51, '52, and '53. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1854. First edition. Two octavo volumes. xxii, 506 pages,  publisher's catalog pages; xvii, 624 pages. Illustrated with two folding frontispieces, large folding map of the U.S. and Mexican border area. Sixteen tinted lithograph plates (with an unlisted plate facing page 292 of Volume II); and 92 woodcuts. Original dark green, blind stamped ruled cloth over boards. Gilt lettering and cactus design to spines. Blue endpapers. Page edges untrimmed. Accompanied by a custom slipcase.
John Bartlett was a New York bookseller appointed U.S. Commissioner by President Zachary Taylor and was tasked with running the survey of the boundary line between the United States and Mexico. Jenkins, in Basic Texas Books, considers Bartlett's Narrative" [...] the most scholarly and scientific description of Southwest Texas of its era." This from a lengthy and favorable review in The Eclectic Review (January-June, 1857): "The United States and Mexican Boundary Commission, as organized in Washington under his [Bartlett's] direction, was composed of seventy-eight officers and assistants in the surveying, astronomical, and topological divisions. In the course of the explorations many curios and valuable collections were made by the officers in the departments of zoology, botany, and geology. The geological collection was made by Dr. Thomas H. Webb, Secretary of the Joint Commission, a gentleman well known for his scientific attainments and antiquarian researches. In ethnology, Mr. Bartlett made vocabularies, each embracing two hundred words, in upwards of twenty different languages, most of which had never been previously collected. The volumes are illustrated by characteristic portraits of many of the aborigines, and sketches exhibiting their manners, customs, art, and husbandry."
Condition: Spine ends refreshed/repaired; front hinges starting; remnants of bookplate on front pastedown of Volume I; bookplate on the front pastedown of Volume II; some offsetting on pages facing illustrations, otherwise a handsome set in very good condition.
References: Abbey 658. Basic Texas Books 12. Graff 198. Howes B201. Raines, p. 22. Sabin 3746. Wagner-Camp 234:1.
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