One of the Classics of AmericanaJosiah 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 2 steel-engraved frontispieces; 4 wood-engraved plates; 2 engraved maps (1 folding); 5 illustrations in the text. Later half-leather over marbled boards. Lettered in gilt on black morocco labels on the spine. Marbled endpapers and edges. Bindings with modest shelf wear; moderate to heavy toning on the preliminary pages of each volume, more so on the title pages; book plate of Robert Watt Miller on the front pastedown of each volume, else a handsome set in very good condition. Housed in a custom slipcase.
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.
Reference: Graff 1559; Howes G401; Raines, page 99; Wagner-Camp-Becker 108:1; Streeter 1502.
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