"ONE OF THE ESSENTIAL BOOKS FOR AN AMERICANA COLLECTION": EARLIEST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, 1807 FIRST EDITION OF GASS' JOURNAL IN ORIGINAL BOARDS
GASS, Patrick. A Journal of the Voyages and Travels of a Corps of Discovery, Under the Command of Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clarke of the Army of the United States, 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: Zadok Cramer, for David M'Keehan, 1807. Tall 12mo (4-1/2 by 6-3/4 inches) original half brown sheep, original paper boards. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box.
First edition of the "earliest full first-hand narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition, preceding the official account by seven years" (Howes), "one of the essential books for an Americana collection" (Streeter).
Gass volunteered as a private for the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803 (he was promoted to sergeant August 26, 1804). "A most reliable man, Gass accompanied the expedition to the Pacific… keeping a careful and valuable journal. On October 10, 1806, after the return to St. Louis, Lewis gave Gass a certificate stating that, 'the ample support which he gave me, under every difficulty; the manly firmness which he evinced on every necessary occasion; and the fortitude with which he bore the fatigues and painful sufferings incident to that long voyage, intitles [sic] him to my highest confidence and sincere thanks… [In Washington, Gass] arranged for publication of his journal which appeared seven years before the official Lewis and Clark narrative was published" (Thrapp II:542). The prospectus for Gass' journal revealed "that around the campfire 'the several journals [of the expedition members] were brought together, compared, corrected, and the blanks filled up,' meaning that… subscribers would be reading material corrected and approved by the captains" (Ambrose, Undaunted Courage, 418). Gass was the last survivor of the expedition, dying at age 99 in 1870. With half title [ix]; without front free endpaper. Graff 1516. Sabin 26741. Wagner-Camp 6:1. Streeter V:3120. Howes G77. Numerous early ink and pencil annotations to endpapers and some margins, many of which are no longer legible. A previous owner signature, "R. Huston, Canonsburg, Washington" [County], may be Dr. Robert M. Huston, Professor of Materia Medica and Midwifery at Jefferson Medical College in Pennsylvania from 1839-57. Jefferson College in Canonsburg was the parent institution for the medical school, which was founded in 1825.
Interior with occasional foxing, dampstaining near the end of the text; tear with loss to the bottom of pages 189-90, not affecting text. Original boards with usual wear, joints expertly repaired.