FRÉMONT, John C. (1813-1890). Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and Northern California in the years 1843-44. Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1845.
8° (228 x 140 mm). 22 lithographed plates and 5 maps (two folding, the large Preuss map loose in back, see below). Original ribbed cloth (hinges cracked and rear cover loose, pocket at end split).
[Including:] PREUSS, Charles. Map of an Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842 and to Oregon and North California in the Year 1843-44. Baltimore: E. Weber & Co. . Large folding map, 825 x 1346 mm (a few separations along folds). Folded and laid in at abck of text volume
FIRST EDITION, the Senate issue of this seminal work. The two reports, written with the help of Frémont's wife Jessie Benton, "caught the public imagination: images of Frémont's guide, the then little-known Christopher 'Kit' Carson, riding bareback across the prairie, and Frémont himself, raising a flag on a Rocky Mountain peak, entered the national mythology" (Pamela Herr, American National Biography). The reports mapped out all California rivers south of the American River and the three Colorado rivers. They became essential guides for gold rush travelers and settlers heading for California and the Oregon Territory.
Frémont stresses the importance of Preuss's large map of the routes traversed in both expeditions: "it fills up the vast geographical chasm" between Missouri and the Columbia River. Historians ever since have warmly agreed, calling it "monumental in its breadth--a classic of exploring literature" (Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire, p.248). Wheat, in Mapping the Transmississippi West, deems it "as important a step forward from the earlier western maps...as...Pike, Long, and Lewis and Clark in their day" (p.495). Cohen Mapping the West pp.130-133; Field 565; Graff 1436; Howes F-370; Sabin 25845; Streeter sale VI:3131; Wagner-Camp-Becker 115:2.