"ONE OF THE ESSENTIAL BOOKS FOR AN AMERICANA COLLECTION": EARLIEST PUBLISHED ACCOUNT OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION, GASS' JOURNAL, 1810 SECOND AMERICAN EDITION, THE FIRST TO CONTAIN SIX WOODCUT PLATES DEPICTING LEWIS AND CLARK ON THEIR TRAVELS
GASS, Patrick. 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, and 1806. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1810. Octavo, late 19th-century full speckled brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, red and green morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt.
Second American edition of the "earliest full firsthand narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition" (Howes), scarce 1810 edition—"one of the essential books for an Americana collection" (Streeter)—the first edition to include six fascinating woodcut plates depicting Lewis and Clark on their expedition.
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 six woodcut plates. Preceded by the first edition of 1807, a second printing of that edition in 1808 (sometimes erroneously called the second edition), and the London edition. Graff 1520. Sabin 26741. Streeter V:3126. Howes G77. Shaw & Shoemaker 20185. Faint title page owner signature. Booklabel.