DescriptionJosiah Gregg: Commerce of the Prairies: or the Journal of a Santa Fe Trader During Eight Expeditions Across the Great Western Prairies, and a Residence of Nearly Nine Years in Northern Mexico. Illustrated with Maps and Engravings. In Two Volumes. (New York: Henry G. Langley, 1844). First edition, first issue, with the London imprint not present in volume II. Two twelvemo volumes (7.5" x 4.5"). 320; 318 pages. Illustrated with six plates and two maps, one of which is folding: A Map of the Indian Territory North Texas and New Mexico Showing the Great Western Prairies (12" x 14.5"). Publisher's original finely-ribbed brown cloth, decoratively stamped in gilt and blind, and lettered in gilt on the spine. Pale yellow endpapers. Both volumes expertly and almost invisibly rebacked preserving the original spines. A bit of intermittent soiling and foxing, with heavy foxing and browning to the engraved plates. A few minor and faint dampstains or tidemarks, including to the terminal leaves in volume I and the title page in volume II. Altogether, a very good attractive copy. 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. The Map of the Indian Territory Northern Texas and New Mexico showing Great Western Prairies is by far the best of the region up to that time. Wheat states, "Gregg's map was a cartographic landmark... one of the most useful maps of this region at that day." Of it Lieutenant Warren remarked (Memoir p.43-44), "It is based on the map of Humboldt's New Spain that of Major Long's first expedition, and that of the road survey of J. C. Brown along the Santa Fe Trail, with such corrections and additions as Mr. Gregg's own observations suggested. It was one of the most useful maps of this region at that day." "The Santa Fe Trail ranks with the Chisholm Trail in its historical importance as a place in the West, and Gregg's account is the classic of that trail and the commerce on it. It was written by a man who spent nine years as a Santa Fe trader and who knew the trail, the varmints and plants along it, the Indians, and his Mexican customers. He kept a diary, and his carefully recorded notes were before him as he wrote the book. It has been source material for all the other books on the Santa Fe Trail and trade." -Jeff Dykes. From the collection of Darrel Brown.
Reference: Graff 1559. Bay pages 367, 371-2. Howes G401. Jones 1087. Clark, Travels III 172. Dobie 75-76. Raines page 99. Wagner-Camp-Becker 108:1. Streeter Texas 1502. Streeter Sale 378. Rittenhouse 255.
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