LEWIS, MERIWETHER, 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. Philadelphia: [by James Maxwell at New York for] Bradford and Inskeep. New York: Abraham H. Inskeep, 1814.
Lot 165¤
LEWIS, MERIWETHER, 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. Philadelphia: [by James Maxwell at New York for] Bradford and Inskeep. New York: Abraham H. Inskeep, 1814.
Sold for US$ 158,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
[not on list; copied from line 170] 1814	Allen, Paul [Lewis and Clarke]	Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean 	Philadelphia  1999	 $72,500 	WR, 34158
Lot Details
LEWIS, MERIWETHER, 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. Philadelphia: [by James Maxwell at New York for] Bradford and Inskeep. New York: Abraham H. Inskeep, 1814.
2 volumes. xxviii, 470; ix, [1 blank], 522 pp. Edited by Nicholas Biddle and Paul Allen. Folding engraved frontispiece map: A Map of Lewis and Clark's Track, Across the Western Portion of North America From the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean, 302 x 694 mm (to neat line), engraved by Samuel Harrison after Clark. 5 full-page engraved maps. 8vo (211 x 126 mm). Period half calf and marbled boards, flat spines gilt-ruled and -lettered with wheel devices. Mild browning/foxing as expected, plates with light offsetting from text, large map reinserted and with tiny holes at fold intersections, about 8 ll in vol 1 with very thin marginal wormtrail, joints cracked, spine ends and corners worn, light rubbing.

FIRST EDITION OF THE DEFINITIVE ACCOUNT OF AMERICA'S MOST IMPORTANT MISSION OF DISCOVERY, WITH MAP. Nothing written in any of the bibliographies exaggerates the importance of this book. It marks the moment when Americans became westerners.
It was Lewis and Clark's intention to publish their journals soon after their return, and Lewis went so far as to issue a prospectus of the work. However publication was delayed by a number of circumstances, including Lewis's violent death in 1809, and Clark's various government appointments. Although Paul Allen is listed as the editor, the major work was actually done by Nicholas Biddle, a young Philadelphia lawyer. "An edition of 2000 copies was printed, of which 583 were in some way lost or destroyed" (Church). The text is derived chiefly from the journals of Lewis and Clark with important contributions from other members of the expedition. The extremely accurate and detailed map, iconic in its own right, is present here in fresh, unsophisticated condition. Coe p 22 ("must ever remain the basis of a collection of western books"); Church 1309; Cohen Mapping the West 7; Graff 2477; Grolier American 30; Howes L317 ("c"); PMM 272; Sabin 40828; Streeter sale 1777; Streeter Americana Beginnings 52; Wagner-Camp 13.1; Wheat Transmississippi West 316.
Provenance: early manuscript translation of the sexually explicit description of the buffalo dance which appears in print in Latin on p 150 (on lower flyleaf of vol 1); gift inscriptions from George Morton of St. Louis to Edward Peterson, dated June 1840 (on front flyleaves, 2 pp in vol 1 and 1 p in vol 2); American armorial bookplates of J. Tharp Lawrence; front endpapers with inkstamps of Robert Parker and signatures of J.D. Capel. We cannot trace this copy in the auction records.
Acquisition: purchased from William Reese Company, 1999, $72,500.

Footnotes

  • AE Footnote


    "As they went along their hopes of soon seeing the waters of the Columbia arose almost to painful anxiety, when after four miles from the last abrupt turn of the river, they reached a small gap formed by the high mountains which recede on each side, leaving room for the Indian road. From the foot of one of the lowest of these mountains, which rises with a gentle ascent of about half a mile, issues the remotest water of the Missouri. They had now reached the hidden sources of that river, which had never yet been seen by civilized man; and as they quenched their thirst at that chaste and icy fountain—as they sat down by the brink of that little rivulet, which yielded its distant and modest tribute to the parent ocean, they felt themselves rewarded for all their labours and all their difficulties. They left reluctantly this interesting spot, and pursuing the Indian road through the interval of hills, arrived at the top of a ridge from which they saw high mountains partially covered with snow still to the west of them. The ridge on which they stood formed the dividing line between the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They followed a descent much steeper than that on the eastern side, and at the distance of three quarters of a mile reached a handsome bold creek of cold clear water running to the westward."
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