Description

    "The Definitive Account of the Most Important Exploration of the North American Continent," in the Rare Original Printed Paper Boards

    Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean. Performed during the Years 1804-5-6. By order of the Government of the United States. Prepared for the press by Paul Allen, Esquire. Philadelphia: Published by Bradford and Inskeep; and Abm: H. Inskeep, New York. J. Maxwell, Printer, 1814. First edition of "the definitive account of the most important exploration of the North American continent" (Wagner-Camp). One of 1,417 copies printed. Two octavo volumes (approximately 9 x 5.25 inches). xxviii, 470, [2, blank]; ix, [1, blank], 522, [2, blank] pages. With five plates inserted throughout. The first impression map was torn out of this copy, but this copy comes with a fine framed second impression map. (Many of the 1,417 copies printed were issued without the map, which was available at a premium, and the map has disappeared from others (including this one). This set is accompanied by the second impression of the map, handsomely framed (map size approximately 14.25 x 31.75; framed size approximately 17 x 33.5 inches). The map was printed from the original copper plate in 1979 for the American Philosophical Society in an edition of 160 copies on fine rag paper. We understand that the plate suffered and that no further printings will be made. Engraved from Clark's manuscript, this map showing the 8000-mile trek is one of the greatest landmarks American cartographic history. "More accurate than any previous western map, it rapidly became the source for a new generation of western maps" (Schwartz and Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, p. 227)). In the original printed paper boards. Both volumes rebacked with later brown calf. Covers worn with some loss to text, calf spines a bit worn, text foxed and offset. Text in volume I dampstained at upper margin and has occasional ink stains or notations. Text in volume I is broken at page 128 and page 129 is loose; the front free endpaper and first blank in volume II both have loss at the upper edge. Overall, a fair copy of one of the most important American exploration titles, rare in the original binding. Housed in clamshell case.

    More Information:

    "Beyond the Missouri River there lay a vast and largely unexplored territory which bordered on the western reaches of the United States. Ceded by France to Spain in 1762 and then back to France in 1800 it was at this period visited only by some British and a few French trappers. The importance of exploring this area had been evident to Thomas Jefferson as early as 1783, when he had proposed the project to George Rogers Clark; but it was not until twenty years later that Jefferson, then President of the United States, saw the realization of his idea...The purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in December 1803 greatly increased the importance of the expedition, which finally began its long journey to the headwaters of the Missouri in May of the following year. That year they wintered in the Mandan villages in the Dakotas and in the Spring pushed on west across the Rocky Mountains and then down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. Returning by the same route nearly two-and-a-half years after they had set out they arrived back at St. Louis in September 1806 to the amazed delight of the nation which had given them up for lost. Though unsuccessful in their attempt to find a transcontinental water route, they had demonstrated the feasibility of overland travel to the western coast" (Printing and the Mind of Man).

    Graff 2477. Grolier, 100 American, 30. Howes L317. Printing and the Mind of Man 272. Streeter 1777. Wagner-Camp 13: 1.



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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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