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    First Edition of the First Lewis and Clark "Apocrypha"

    Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838). The Travels of Capts. Lewis & Clarke [sic], by Order of the Government of the United States, Performed in the Years 1804, 1805, & 1806, being upwards of Three Thousand Miles, from St. Louis, by Way of the Missouri, and Columbia Rivers, to the Pacifick Ocean: Containing an Account of the Indian Tribes, who inhabit the Western part of the Continent unexplored, and unknown before. With copious delineations of the manners, customs, religion, &. of the Indians. Compiled From various authentic sources, and Documents. To which is subjoined, A Summary of the Statistical view of the Indian Nations, from the Official Communication of Meriwether Lewis. Embellished with a Map of the Country inhabited by the Western tribes of Indians, and five Engravings of Indian Chiefs. Philadelphia: Published by Hubbard Lester, 1809. First edition of the first Lewis and Clark "Apocrypha"-"the first in a long and mostly related series of unauthorized published accounts of the expedition" (The Literature of Lewis and Clark). Twelvemo in sixes (7.0625 x 4.1875 inches; 180 x 108 mm.). xii, [13]-300 pages. Folding engraved "Map of the Country Inhabited by the Western Tribes of Indians," and four engraved portraits of tribal chiefs: "Mahas Queen" (facing page 48), "Sioux Warrior" (facing page 96), "Ottoes Chief" (facing page 156), and "Serpentine Chief" (facing page 204). Lacking the engraved frontispiece portrait of a "Sioux Queen" by W. R. Jones. Wood-engraved tail-piece on page 300. Contemporary (original?) sheep over pasteboard. Smooth spine ruled in gilt with black leather label decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt. Binding quite worn, with front board and front free endpaper detached, rear joint cracked, and small areas of loss at head and tail of spine. The lower half of the rare folding map is missing and what remains is in four pieces, torn vertically and horizontally, with the upper and lower parts neatly stitched together. If pieced together and straightened, it measures approximately 5.875 x 8.375 inches (150 x 213 mm.)-it should measure approximately 11.25 x 9 inches. The first few leaves are tattered and torn: the title with a one-and-three-quarter-inch tear from the outer margin; the following leaf with a three-quarter-inch tear. Several additional leaves have tears, most not affecting text (except on B11 (pages 23/24) and C2 pages 29/30). Moderate foxing and browning, as usual, and dampstaining in the upper gutter margin of the map and the first two gatherings, then only in the upper margin throughout. Booklabel printed in blue on front flyleaf: The Property of Henry W. Wessells, with "Henry W." crossed out and "Jno L" written above it in black ink. The booklabel is covering an early ink inscription: "Henry W. Wessells Book / No 9." An additional tiny label is at the head of page 49: "F W Wessells." A few scattered pencil markings. As is often the case with this fragile edition, this copy is in poor condition.
    Howes L321. The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 4a.1. Sabin 96499. Shaw & Shoemaker 17911. Streeter 3122. Wagner-Camp 8:1. Wheat, Transmississippi West, 294.
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    "The delay in publishing an official account of the expedition from the Lewis and Clark journals left a reporting vacuum, filled in 1809 by a pair of almost identical volumes published anonymously in Philadelphia and London. These compilations were made up of materials from various printed sources: the opening of Jefferson's 1806 Report to Congress (2b.1); Clark's St. Louis letter of September 1806 (2c.1), and accounts by Patrick Gass (1807), Jonathan Carver (1778), Alexander Mackenzie (1802), Lewis and Clark ('A Statistical View' from Jefferson's 1806 Report), and Doctor Sibley and William Dunbar (1806). These volumes played fast and loose with copyrights, and did not provide an adequate account of the promised 'Travels of Capts. Lewis and Clarke.' However, they did fulfill the other promise of their title pages: to provide accounts, borrowed from various published sources, of native American tribes in Canada and the northern and southern United States. This was the first attempt to assemble in one volume a range of authentic ethnographic material covering the continent. The accompanying map in these volumes is the first to include locations described by Lewis and Clark: Fort Mandan, the three forks of the Missouri River, and Fort Clatsop" (The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, page 133).

    Denounced by Eliot Coues as a "wretched little meretricious compilation," this compilation published under the pseudonym Hubbard Lester was nonetheless one of the earliest accounts of the celebrated Lewis and Clark expedition, and it remained a major source of information about the West until the official narrative was finally published in 1814.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    8th-9th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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