Description

    John 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 & Company, 1854. First edition. Octavo. Two volumes bound as one. xxii, [1]-506; xvii, [1]-624 pages. Illustrated with folding frontispieces in both volumes, folding map in volume one (with a long closed tear), six full-page lithographs in the first volume; and twenty-two in the second, including nine of the ten called for in the list of illustrations, lacking one of the two geyser plates, but with the addition of thirteen other full-page plates, not mentioned in the list, printed on thinner paper, including the interior of an Indian hut (page 30); six plates of sculptured rocks (at pages 197 and 206); Indian amusements (page 238); a few plates of pottery fragments, views of Janos and Tucson, and another of a meteorite. Publisher's original green cloth with titles stamped in gilt on the spine.

    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: Binding worn at the edges and corners; small holes in joints with some soiling to boards; front hinge cracked, text generally clean with some scattered modest foxing; most plates with foxing, otherwise a very good copy, quite sound and rarely found in the original cloth.



    References: Abbey 658. Basic Texas Books 12. Graff 198. Howes B201. Raines, p. 22. Sabin 3746. Wagner-Camp 234.


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    Auction Dates
    March, 2017
    24th Friday
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