"A CORNERSTONE OF ANY COLLECTION OF WESTERN AMERICANA": RARE 1810 FIRST EDITION OF PIKE'S IMPORTANT EXPEDITIONS TO THE SOURCES OF THE MISSISSIPPI, WITH MAPS CONSIDERED "MILESTONES IN THE MAPPING OF THE AMERICAN WEST"
PIKE, Zebulon. An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi, and Through the Western Parts of Louisiana, to the Sources of the Arkansaw, Kans, La Platte, and Pierre Juan Rivers… During the Years 1805, 1806, and 1807. And a Tour Through the Interior Parts of New Spain… in the Year 1807. Philadelphia: C. & A. Conrad, et al., 1810. Thick octavo, contemporary full mottled sheep, red morocco spine label. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
Rare first edition of "one of the great chronicles of American pioneering achievement," the primary account of the first United States government expedition to the Southwest, with six maps (five folding), three folding tables, and frontispiece portrait of Pike. Rare in contemporary sheep binding.
Pike's account ranks with that of Lewis and Clark as the most important of the early works on the exploration of western North America. Its maps were the first to reveal a first-hand knowledge of the geography of the Southwest, and they are considered "milestones in the mapping of the American West" (Wheat). Pike is also considered "the first American writer at some length on Texas" (Basic Texas Books 163).
On July 15, 1806, just weeks after completing an eight-month exploration of the high Mississippi and while Lewis and Clark were still wending their way homeward from their journey to the Pacific, 27-year-old Zebulon Pike began his heroic expedition to the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers and to reconnoiter Spanish settlements in New Mexico. He and his team traveled up the Arkansas River to the site of what is now Pueblo, Colorado, exploring the area and the peak that now bears his name. At the Rio Grande they were taken by the Spanish, who brought them to Santa Fe, then to Chihuahua; they were finally released at the border of the Louisiana Territory. Pike's narrative "marks the beginning of serious American interest in Texas… Milo M. Quaife called it 'one of the great chronicles of American pioneering achievement… [The explorers] wrote a chapter in the annals of human daring… and added a volume of abiding worth to the literature of New World exploration.… their effect was enormous; their results proved far-reaching; and some of these are still in evidence" (Wheat). Pike's account is one of the most important of the early books on western exploration, and a cornerstone of any collection of Western Americana. Field 1217. Howes P373. Wagner-Camp 9:1. Graff 3290. Streeter Texas 1047C. Sabin 62936. Shaw & Shoemaker 21089.
Expert paper repairs to a few map stubs and light offsetting to maps as usual, only slight embrowning to text; joints, corners and spine ends expertly restored. An extremely good copy in contemporary sheep.