Item #69095 California and Oregon Trail:. Francis PARKMAN.
California and Oregon Trail:
California and Oregon Trail:
California and Oregon Trail:
California and Oregon Trail:

First Edition, First Issue of One of the Great Literary and Historical Narratives of the American Experience

California and Oregon Trail:. Being Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life.

New York: George P. Putnam, 1849.

Full Description:

PARKMAN, Francis. The California and Oregon Trail: Being Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life. New York: George P. Putnam, 1849.

First edition, first issue, terminal catalogue B, binding A. Binding A is noted on first printing sheets only according to BAL Parkmans's name on spine without serif. Octavo (7 3/8 x 5 inches; 186 x 127 mm). [2, ads], [3]-448, [8, ads] pp., With sepia-tinted lithographed frontispiece and title-page, both by F. O. C. Darley.

Publisher's blue-green blind-stamped cloth. Spine lettered in gilt. Corners slightly bumped. Boards and spine with sunning. Mild foxing to fore-edge of text block. Some occasional finger soiling to leaves, but otherwise text is very clean. Old bookseller blindstamp to front free endpaper. Overall an about fine copy of the superlatively scarce first issue in unrestored cloth. Housed in a blue custom cloth clamshell, by the Lakeside Press with red morocco spine label, lettered in gilt.

Parkman's reasons for traveling the Oregon Trail in 1846 were to restore his health, as well as to learn more about Indian life and gather information that would be useful in writing the history he planned of the conflict between the French and the British in North America. The result of his travels ended up to be a very different story, one part history and two parts travel narrative and adventure story. He, along with his traveling companion Quincy Adams Shaw started their journey in New York, then across Kansas and Nebraska, and then to Fort Laramie, where Parkman went to join a band of Sioux. He lived and traveled with them in the 'Black Hills' (i.e. the Laramie Mountains). "This is the portion of the narrative which is not only the most vivid but also of greatest historical value...Parkman has given us a unique picture of life in a Sioux village before it was changed and eventually destroyed by contact with the white man..." (Printing and The Mind of Man, p. 199). Due to ill health when Parkman arrived home, he dictated his account of their journey to Shaw. The first publication was serialized, beginning in February 1847 in irregular monthly episodes in the Knickerbocker Magazine under the title 'The Oregon Trail, or A Summer's Journey Out of Bounds. The title was changed by the publisher in hopes that he could capitalize on the publics interest in the California gold rush. The first edition of one thousand copies appeared in March and sold out in a month.

This is one of the great literary and historical narratives of the American experience and "the classic account of the emigrant journey to the Rockies" (Grolier).

This controversial text has remained a classic of the American West despite criticism directed at it. In part enthusiastic and in part pessimistic, the work offers a microcosm of the changes then taking place at the far western reaches of U.S. expansion. Particularly debated since its publication has been Parkman’s view of Native Americans. Although he apparently successfully lived with a tribe of Sioux, he pronounced Native Americans a doomed people. In any case, this is the opening chapter of a highly successful literary career.

BAL 15446. Grolier, 100 American, 58. Howes P97. Printing and the Mind of Man 327. Sabin 58801. Wagner-Camp 170:1b.

HBS 69095.


Price: $6,000.00

Item #69095

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