DescriptionJosiah Gregg. Commerce of the Prairies: or the Journal of a Santa Fé Trader During Eight Expeditions Across the Great Western Prairies, and a Residence of Nearly Nine Years in Northern Mexico. New York: Henry G. Langley, 1844. First edition. Two twelvemo volumes. [i]-xvi, -320; [i]-viii, -318 pages. With two engraved frontispieces; four engraved plates; two engraved maps (one of which is folding); and five in-text illustrations. Publisher's original finely-ribbed brown cloth, decoratively stamped in gilt and blind, and lettered in gilt on the spine. Second volume with all edges gilt. Illustrated bookplate of "George Raithel Brooks. St. Louis" on both front pastedowns. Bindings rubbed and soiled, cloth with wrinkles, chips, and minor loss at extremities, spine ends trimmed, heavier surface wear on gilt lettering, designs, and textblock edges of second volume. Bookseller's small pencil notations on front endpapers of first volume. Small edge tear in frontispiece of second volume. Map in first volume with light edge and fold wear, small edge tears and corner bends, and a three inch tear from the inner connecting edge into the image area. Pages with edge wear, foxing (heavier on plates and illustrated pages), and occasional soiling. Bookplate. Very good.
One of the landmark books of Western Americana, Gregg's book is acclaimed by all sources as the principal contemporary authority on the Santa Fe Trail and trade, the Indians of the south plains, and New Mexico in the Mexican period. Gregg originally moved to Santa Fe for health considerations, but he quickly became one of the foremost traders of the region. J. Frank Dobie calls his book "one of the classics of bedrock Americana." It gives a lively, intimate and personal account of experiences on the prairies and in northern Mexico. Graff 1559; Howes G400; Raines, page 99; Wagner-Camp-Becker 108:1; Streeter 1502.
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