LEWIS, Meriwether (1774-1809) and William CLARK (1770-1838)
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
Philadelphia: J. Maxwell for Bradford & Inskeep and Abm. H. Inskeep of New York, 1814. 2 volumes, octavo. Five maps and charts. Large folding map in expert facsimile. Text toned as usual.
Bound to style in contemporary tree calf, covers bordered with a gilt roll tool, flat spine divided into six compartments by Greek key roll tool, red morocco lettering piece in the second compartment, red morocco lettering piece with volume number in the fourth compartment, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt.
The first edition of the "definitive account of the most important exploration of the North American continent" (Wagner-Camp). A cornerstone of Western Americana.
The book describes the Government-backed expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase undertaken from 1804 to 1806 by ascending the Missouri to its source, crossing the Rocky Mountains, and reaching the Pacific Ocean. In total, the expedition covered some eight thousand miles in slightly more than twenty-eight months. Lewis and Clark brought back the first reliable information about much of the area they traversed, made contact with the Indian inhabitants as a prelude to the expansion of the fur trade, and advanced by a quantum leap the geographical knowledge of the continent.
This official account of the expedition is as much a landmark in Americana as the trip itself. The narrative has been reprinted many times and remains a perennial American bestseller. The observations in the text make it an essential work of American natural history, ethnography and science. It is the first great U.S. government expedition, the first book on the Rocky Mountain West, and a host of other firsts. It is among the most famous American books.
Church 1309; Field 928; Graff 2477; Grolier American 100, 30; Howes L317; Printing & the Mind of Man 272; Tweney 89, 44; Sabin 40828; Shaw & Shoemaker 31924; Streeter Sale 1777; Streeter, Americana Beginnings, 52; Wagner-Camp 13:1.