SAGE, Rufus B. (1817-1893)
Scenes In The Rocky Mountains, and in Oregon, California, New Mexico, Texas, and The Grand Prairies or notes by the way, during an excursion of three years ... By a New Englander
Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1846. 8vo. (7 1/8 x 4 3/4 inches). 303pp. Large folding map. Map silked with repaired tears.
Twentieth century polished calf bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, spine with raised bands in six compartments, red morocco lettering piece, repeat decoration in gilt.
First edition, first issue of one of the most important overland narratives: this copy complete with its important map.
Sage set out from Westport in the summer of 1841 with a fur caravan, later visiting New Mexico, witnessing the disaster of the Snively expedition, and joining the end of the 1843 Fremont expedition. He returned to Ohio in time to take a vigorous if futile role in the election of 1844, supporting Henry Clay. He wrote this book in 1845. The story of the publication of this work and its subsequent sale is told by LeRoy Hafen in the introduction to the most scholarly edition of Sage, issued in two volumes by the Arthur H. Clark Co. in 1956. According to Hafen, the publishers of the original edition felt the addition of a map would cost too much, and it was only at the author's insistence that a map was printed and sold with the book, at a higher rate. The map, based mainly on the 1845 Fremont map, is usually not found with the book. It is "one of the earliest to depict the finally-determined Oregon boundary...one of the earliest attempts to show on a map the evermore-heavily traveled emigrant road to California" (Wheat). It adds interesting notes on the country and locations of fur trading establishments. Howes notes that it is "the best contemporary account of Snively's abortive land-pirate expedition" (Howes). Sage was certainly one of the most literate and acute observers of the West in the period immediately before the events of 1846. First edition, first issue (with page numbers 77-88, 270-271, and 302 placed in the inner margin).
Cowan pp. 548-9; Field 1345; "Fifty Texas Rarities" 30; Graff 3633; Howes S16 ("b"); Mintz 402; Rader 2870; Sabin 74892; Streeter sale V:3049; Wagner-Camp 123:1; Wheat "Mapping the Transmississippi West" 527; Wheat "Maps of the California Gold Rush" 30; Raines, p. 181.