The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Discovering the American West

Reports on the West: Lewis and Clark and their successors   

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Reporting on the Corps of Discovery, Igass

Gass, Patrick, 1771-1870.  
A journal of the voyages and travels of a corps of discovery under the command of Captain Lewis and Captain Clarke, from the mouth of the river Missouri, through the interior parts of North America, to the Pacific Ocean; during the years 1804, 1805, & 1806.

Pittsburgh: Printed for David M'Keehan; London, Re-printed for J. Budd 1808.  Inscribed by William Cobbett to Dr. Batty.  Brown calf.  Bookplate of Alfred Chapin Rogers.

Patrick Gass had volunteered for the expedition in 1803 and was promoted to sergeant in August 1804.  His record of the journey, published only a year after the return, appeared seven years ahead of the official Lewis and Clark narrative. 

Reporting on the Corps of Discovery, II

Fisher, William, comp. An interesting account of the voyages and travels of Captains Lewis and Clarke, in the years 1804-5, & 6. Giving a faithful description of the river Missouri and its source . . . To which is added a complete dictionary of the Indian tongue.
Baltimore: Printed and published by P. Mauro, 1813.  Rebound.

This spurious compilation, which first appeared in Philadelphia in1809, pirated Jefferson’s and Lewis’s interim reports of 1806 and padded them out with extracts from Carver’sTravels and Mackenzie's Voyage from Montreal, together with a Cree vocabulary.

source of missouri river

Reporting on the Corps of Discovery, III

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark,
Travels to the source of the Missouri river and across the American continent to the Pacific ocean. Performed by order of the government of the United States, in the years 1804, 1805, and 1806.
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1814.  Modern green half morocco, by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Bookplate of Alfred Chapin Rogers.

The official narrative of the expedition was not prepared by Lewis and Clark themselves, but edited from their original journals by Nicholas Biddle and Paul Allen.  Though announced for publication in 1810, it first appeared in Philadelphia in 1814.   For this English edition, the editor, Thomas Rees, made both cuts and substitutions.

An American Response to the Lewis and Clark Travelsanalectric magazine

"B," "Original Review–Lewis and Clarke’s Travels,"Analectic Magazine (Philadelphia), 5 (February 1815): 127-149; (March 1815): 210-234.  South Carolina College library.

After copious extracts, the reviewer judges the expedition to have been "conducted and sustained throughout with the greatest skill, courage, and fortitude, with the loss of only one man, who died of sickness on their passage up the river, and occasioning the death of only two Indians. . . . We almost imagine ourselves to be of the party; and the journal seems like a vehicle by which we are enabled to keep pace with the travelers." 

A British Response to the Lewis and Clark Travels

[John Playfair and Webb Seymour], "Travels to the Source of the Missouri," Edinburgh Review, 24 (February 1815): 412-438.

This review stressed particularly the information that Lewis and Clark brought back about the life and culture of the native American tribes; the expedition was, it concluded," a band of active and intrepid men, which no country in the world would not be proud to acknowledge." 

Reporting Scientific Discoveries

John James Audubon, 1785-1851, " Plate CCLXXII: Lewis’s Woodpecker," from Audubon, The Birds of America from Drawings made in the United States. 5 vols. 
New York: J. J. Audubon; Philadelphia: J. B. Chevalier, 1842. Half morocco.

The knowledge that Lewis and Clark brought back from the expedition, in geography, ethnology, and natural history, was of wide interest to scientists worldwide.  Shown here is one of several new species that the expedition discovered, as drawn by John James Audubon. It is shown here for practical reasons in the smaller octavo format, rather than from the South Carolina College set of Audubon’s great double-elephant folio.   

Major Pike: The Other Expedition into Upper Louisiana

Pike, Zebulon Montgomery, 1779-1813.
An account of expeditions to the sources of the Mississippi: and through the western parts of Louisiana . . . performed by order of the government of the United States during the years 1805, 1806, and 1807.
Philadelphia: Conrad, . . . 1810.  Contemporary tree calf. John Shaw Billings Collection.

During the years of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Major Zebulon Pike led two parallel expeditions through other parts of the Louisiana Purchase, the first to the source of the Mississippi, and the second westward, and across into Mexican territory.

 Pike’s map of mississippi riverExpedition on the Upper Mississippi

Nicholas King, "Map of the Mississippi River from its Source to the Mouth of the Missouri," in Zebulon M. Pike, An account of expeditions to the sources of the Mississippi: and through the western parts of Louisiana.  
Philadelphia: Conrad, . . . 1810.  Contemporary half calf.   Bookplate of Alfred Chapin Rogers. 

account of expedition

Major Long’s Expedition to the Rockies

James, Edwin, 1797-1861, comp.
Account of an expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains: performed in the years 1819 and '20, by order of the Hon. J. C. Calhoun, sec'y of war: under the command of Major Stephen H. Long: from the notes of Major Long, Mr. T. Say, and other gentlemen of the exploring party. 
2 vols. 
Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1823.  Half calf. Label of South Carolina College.

Stephen Long (1784-1864), a Dartmouth graduate and former West Point instructor, had previously explored the upper Mississippi.  This is one of two accounts of the expedition; the other, by W.H. Keating (1824), is also in the Thomas Cooper Library collection. 

Prince Maximilian of Wied: Retracing the Steps of Lewis and Clarklloyd translation

Maximilian, Prince of Wied, 1782-1867, Travels in the interior of North America. . . . Translated from the German, by H. Evans Lloyd.  Illustrated by Karl Bodmer. 
London: Ackermann, 1843.

Prince Maximilian’s account of his travels in the United States in 1832-34 was first published in German in 1839.  The text volume, opened here at Maximilian’s discussion of Mandan beliefs, shows the continuing effect of the Lewis and Clark expedition in setting the agenda for subsequent explorers and ethnographers.   Most of the illustrations elsewhere in this exhibition come from the plates and vignettes for Maximilian’s volume, painted by the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer. 

Frémont’s Expeditions to the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada

Frémont, John Charles, 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. . . Printed by order of the Senate of the United States.
Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1845.  Modern calf.  Stamping of South Carolina College.

John Charles Frémont, from Georgia, became famous for his crossing of the Sierra Nevada to California.  He was briefly governor of California during the Bear Flag rebellion in 1845, and following the Gold Rush he became one of California’s first senators and the Republican Party's first presidential candidate, in 1856.  After the Civil War, he lost most of his wealth in a failed attempt to found a transcontinental railroad.

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