Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Estimate: n. a.
Price realised: US$705
Thwaites, Reuben Gold, ed. Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806. Printed from the Original Manuscripts in the Library of the American Philosophical Society and the Direction of the Committee on Historical Documents. Together with Manuscript Material of Lewis and Clark from other sources, including Note-Books, Letters, Maps, etc., and the Journals of Charles Floyd and Joseph Whitehouse. Now for the First Time Published in Full and Exactly as Written. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1904-1905. 8vo, red cloth with gilt title and publishers device on spine, "LC" device on front; 8 volumes including atlas, lacking only map 54. One of 750 "trade" copies. Ex lib. with withdrawal stamps on library bookplates. (Howes L320) Plus 1969 Arno Press reprint (New York) of volume 8 (atlas), all maps loose in green 6.5 x 9 in. clamshell box with index booklet. Just before the turn of the twentieth century, what little Americans knew about Meriwether Lewis' and William Clark's expedition was limited to the version published by Nicholas Biddle in 1814, which "focused on the most romantic and literary sections of the captains' accounts." (Blessing 2004: 42) It was something of a footnote to the exploration of North America. In 1893 Elliott Coues published an annotated version of Biddle's work incorporating journals of other members of the "Corps of Discovery" housed at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. At the time, few were even aware that other corps members had kept journals, although they were ordered to do so at the beginning of the journey. Shortly after becoming the second director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Reuben Gold Thwaites stumbled across a slim journal among the journals of his predecessor, Lyman Draper. That little journal turned out to be one kept by Sergeant Charles Floyd, who turned out to be the only member of the "Corps of Discovery" who died during the expedition, a mere three months into the journey. Apparently, in the process of confirming Floyd's participation in the expedition, Thwaites discovered the other journals at the American Philosophical Society and proceeded to contact descendants of all other corps members to see if maybe other journals, letters, etc. might still be in family archives. He did uncover more material. He was also alerted to the presence of additional materials of William Clark's, still in the hands of his descendants (apparently tracked down by novelist Eva Emery Dye, according to one story). (Blessing, 2004: 47) So by the time Thwaites' eight-volume series appeared in time for the centennial of the expedition, it was the most complete collection of manuscript material from the corps at the time. New material appeared over the next century, and was been updated by Dr. Gary Moulton in time for the bicentennial (1983-2001, Univ. of Nebraska Press). Thwaites' edition not only provided research material for historians for much of the next century, it helped to popularize the expedition to the public, and emphasized the scientific (178 previously unknown plants and 122 animals) and cartographic accomplishments of the journey. While Thwaites cannot be given full credit for popularizing the expedition - the St. Louis exposition/World's Fair and the national centennial celebration also contributed - these documents had a lasting impact on both public and academic perceptions of the accomplishments of the "Corps of Discovery." Reference: Blessing, Matt. "Reuben Gold Thwaites and the Historical Resurrection of Lewis & Clark." Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Winter 2004-2005), pp. 42-49. Provenance: Robert and Mary Younger, Morningside House Publishers, Civil War & Historic Book Collection Condition: Spines faded. Spine labels (which originally had call numbers) removed. Library punch stamp on tpp. Remnants of old card pocket removed from rear pastedowns.
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