New Discovery of a Vast Country in America

Father Louis HENNEPIN   |   Reuben Gold THWAITES

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HENNEPIN, Father Louis. New Discovery of a Vast Country in America. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1903. Two volumes. Square octavo, mid 20th-century three-quarter blue morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut and partially unopened.

Illustrated edition chronicling LaSalle’s explorations of the Mississippi River, with two facsimile title pages, two fine folding maps, and six plates, handsomely bound.

Edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites. Hennepin chronicled the 1680-82 explorations led by LaSalle, including descriptions (and first depiction) of Niagara Falls, the Mississippi to the Falls of St. Anthony and downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. Upon its original appearance in Utrecht in 1697, his Nouvelle Decouverte was immediately translated into Dutch, German, Spanish, and English. Because of the book’s success, Hennepin quickly prepared another work, Nouveau Voyage, which was also promptly translated. This copy is based on the second English edition (1698), which conjoined these works and was issued on the centenary of the Louisiana Purchase. Though Hennepin’s was a popular work, it was not entirely reliable. He (or his publisher) appears to have freely borrowed material from other authors, making Thwaites’ annotations extremely valuable. Thwaites, “one of the best historical editors of his day” (DAB), collaborated with Frederick Jackson Turner and compiled numerous important manuscript collections of the explorers. With introduction, bibliography, and index. Without “View of Niagara Falls” facing page 54.

Minor soiling to one page of text, one small tear. About-fine condition.

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