Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains
Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains

JOHN C. FRÉMONT, 1845

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Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains
John C. Frémont, 1845
FREMONT, John C. (1813-1890). Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-44. Washington, D.C.: Blair and Rives, 1845.

From the library of the expedition artist, Edward Kern: an important association copy of Frémont's seminal report. This copy is signed and dated by Kern on the front free endpaper. Much of the mapping of Frémont's route was new, including that of the entire Sierra Nevada range, all California rivers south of the American River and the three Colorado rivers. "His exploration of the overland trails to Oregon and California was of great interest to an expanding nation and Frémont (along with his wife, Jessie Benton Frémont) produced a volume as notable for its high-flown style as its excellent content. It was the perfect combination of the era ... more widely read than any other account of the West at the time ... [It] had a seminal effect on the routes frequented in the great period of emigration" (Best of the West).

Frémont hired Edward Meyer Kern (1823-1863) to accompany him as topographical illustrator on this expedition from St. Louis to California, beginning a prolific career as a western explorer and artist. Kern gave the American public some of its ealiest authentic graphic images of the landscape and peoples of the Southwest and California. His career was cut short by poor health (he had epilepsy) and he died at the age of forty. Kern River is named for him. The illustration above is Kern's depiction of the explorers somewhere near present-day Carson Pass in the Sierra Nevada. They are preparing a meal in the melted snow, perhaps the "extraordinary dinner—pea-soup, mule, and dog" described opposite the plate on p. 234. Best of the West 86; Graff 1436; Howes F-370; Sabin 25845; Streeter sale 3131; Wagner-Camp 115:2; Wheat Gold Regions 3266; Wheat Transmississippi West 495; Zamorano 80, no. 39.

Octavo (228 x 147 mm). 22 lithographed plates, four of which are duotone, 4 maps in text, two of which are folding, plus the one very large folding map, "Map of ... Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-44," loose in back cover pocket (some spotting/foxing, large map toned and with a closed tear repaired on verso). Modern quarter morocco. Provenance: Edward M. Kern, the artist who accompanied this expedition (ownership signature on the front free endpaper "Edw M Kern," dated Washington July / 1848." – New York State Soldier's Free Library (inkstamps to two smaller folding maps).

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