California and Oregon Trail

F. O. C DARLEY   |   Francis PARKMAN

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PARKMAN, Francis. The California and Oregon Trail: Being Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life. New York: George P. Putnam, 1849. Octavo, original blind-stamped slate blue cloth.

First edition, rare first issue, of one of the best known of all the great Western narratives, Parkman’s lively classic account of his journey along the Oregon Trail. One of only 1000 copies of the first issue.

Parkman set out from St. Louis in April 1846 and subsequently toured the High Plains of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas. His reasons for the journey were to restore his health, to learn more about Native American life, and to gather information for his planned history of the conflict between the French and British in North America. He traveled along the Oregon Trail, turned south and followed the eastern edge of the Rockies, then returned via the Santa Fe Trail. Along the way he lived with a band of Sioux, closely noting their habits and customs, and met with a number of famous frontiersmen, including the legendary Jim Beckwourth. Parkman’s account of his travels is part history, part travel narrative and part adventure story. It is one of the great literary and historical narratives of the American experience—“the classic account of the emigrant journey to the Rockies” (Grolier, American 58). Tinted lithographic frontispiece and vignette half title by Felix Octavius Carr Darley. This is the scarce first issue in cloth (one of only 1000 copies), with ad leaf preceding the frontispiece (often not present), BAL publisher’s catalogue B at rear and BAL binding A with PARKMAN set in sans-serif type on the spine. The first issue has not been recorded before in this slate-colored cloth, which was used almost exclusively on the second issue. BAL 15446. PMM 327. Howes P97. Wagner-Camp 170:1a. Walsh, New Colophon III:284-85. See also Streeter 1815. Contemporary pencil owner signature.

Scattered foxing to interior, inner hinges expertly reinforced, expert restoration to cloth. An extremely good copy.

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