History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
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"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."
History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark

PHILADELPHIA, 1814

Details
History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
Philadelphia, 1814
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: [by J. Maxwell at New York for] Bradford and Inskeep, 1814.

A special first edition copy of Lewis and Clark's History of the Expedition, "the most famous of all western travels, and the cornerstone of any collection of Western Americana" (Best of the West). This copy in a contemporary binding attributed to John Roulstone (1777/78-1826) which was almost certainly commissioned by Samuel Batchelder as the book's first owner.

"Described by Wagner-Camp as 'the definitive account of the most important exploration of the North American continent,' this book was published nearly eight years after the journey's completion, delayed in production by the death of Meriwether Lewis and the confusions of several editors" (Best of the West). Although Paul Allen is credited as the editor, the major work was done by Nicholas Biddle, a young Philadelphia lawyer. The text primarily rests on Lewis and Clark's journals, but their are important contributions, too, from other members of the expedition. It was finally brought to press in February of 1814 in an edition of 2000 but a high proportion were defective and, according to Church, "583 were in some way lost or destroyed." Further, the highly important map of their route from the Mississippi to the Pacific was not issued with all copies, but cost extra at the time of publication. The map is based on Clark's manuscript and is extremely detailed and accurate, termed by Wheat the "master map of the American West". The remarkable cartographic achievement, perhaps even more than the written account of the journey, served to impel and motivate the nation's inexorable westward expansion.

The Reese copy is remarkable for its extremely handsome contemporary American binding, attributed to John Roulstone. Roulstone was the preeminent Boston bookbinder of this time and a skilled craftsman, his other clients besides Samuel Batchelder, as here, included Ward Nicholas Boylston, the Reverend Dr. Stoughton, and Harvard College. See Papantonio 29 (using same roll tool on covers); French, Hannah, "John Roulstone's Harvard Bindings," Harvard Library Bulletin, April 1970, pp. 171-182. Best of the West 37; Church 1309; Cohen Mapping the West 7; Graff 2477; Grolier American 30; Howes L-317 ("c"); Lewis & Clark 5a.1; PMM 272; Sabin 40828; Streeter sale 1777; Streeter Americana Beginnings 52; Wagner-Camp 13.1; Wheat Mapping the Transmississippi West 316.

Two volumes, octavo (214 x 132 mm). Large folding engraved "Map of Lewis and Clark's Track Across the Western Portion of North America" engraved by Samuel Harrison after Clark, 5 other engraved plates and maps (some fold splitting, an 8cm closed edge tear, a 3cm tear with associated creasing on both sides, verso with two patches). (Some foxing/toning, tear from blank lower right corner of vol. 1 title, a very few pencil marks). Contemporary diced calf stamped in gilt and blind attributed to John Roulstone, Boston bookbinder (rebacked, original spine laid down with a few expert small restorations). Custom chemises and morocco-backed slipcase. Provenance: Samuel Batchelder, 1784-1879, textile pioneer and builder of the Hamilton cotton mill in Lowell, Mass. (ownership inscriptions to both title pages).
Sale room notice
The illustration on pp. 176-177 of the printed catalogue depicts the map in lot 91, not lot 90. Both lots are correctly illustrated online.

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