A CORNERSTONE OF WESTERN AMERICANA AND “A CARTOGRAPHIC LANDMARK”: GREGG’S COMMERCE OF THE PRAIRIES, SPLENDID COPY IN ORIGINAL CLOTH, WITH IMPORTANT LARGE MAP
GREGG, Josiah. Commerce of the Prairies: Or the Journal of a Santa Fe Trader, During Eight Expeditions Across the Great Western Prairies, and a Residence of Nearly Nine Years in Northern Mexico. New York: Henry G. Langley, 1844. Two volumes. Octavo, original brown cloth gilt expertly rebacked with original spines neatly laid down, original endpapers. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition, first issue, of “by far the most important book to be printed on the Southwest up to this date,” with six full-page plates and two maps (one folding), in original cloth.
This cornerstone of Western Americana includes the large folding map entitled “Indian Territory, Northern Texas and New Mexico,” which has been hailed as “a cartographic landmark… From all viewpoints Gregg’s map was an outstanding achievement” (Wheat II, 186-87). “The value of this book as a source for the early trading expeditions over the famous trail, of pioneer life in the Southwest prior to its acquisition by the U.S., of the condition of affairs in New Mexico during the author’s nine years’ residence as a trader therein, and of the manners and customs of the aborigines of New Mexico and Texas, can scarcely be overestimated. The narrative is interesting, truthful, and almost beyond criticism, being one of the best contributions to Southwestern literature that has ever appeared” (Eberstadt 113:559). Gregg’s observations on the manners and customs of the Indians of New Mexico and Texas are equally notable. First issue, with only the New York imprint on title page. Rittenhouse, 255. Howes G401. Sabin 28712. Wagner-Camp 108: 1. Streeter Texas 1502.
One closed tear to large map expertly repaired, text and plates fine. Original cloth extraordinarily clean and fresh, gilt very bright. A beautiful copy.