The California and the Oregon Trail; With a Signed Letter From Francis Parkman
The California and Oregon Trail.
Item Number: 30010
New York: George P. Putnam, 1849.
First edition, second printing of Parkman’s classic account of his journey along the Oregon Trail. Octavo, original blindstamped green cloth, spine lettered in gilt. Wood-engraved frontispiece and additional illustrated title page. Laid in is an autograph letter, signed, from Parkman to a Miss Ashburne declining an invitation due to a previous obligation. Letter dated Boston, 2 Dec., 1878. In very good condition with light rubbing and wear, contemporary name to the front free endpaper.
The California and Oregon Trail is the gripping account of Francis Parkman's journey west across North America in 1846. After crossing the Allegheny Mountains by coach and continuing by boat and wagon to Westport, Missouri, he set out with three companions on a horseback journey that would ultimately take him over two thousand miles. His detailed description of the journey, set against the vast majesty of the Great Plains, has emerged through the generations as a classic narrative of one man's exploration of the American Wilderness. "Francis Parkman, one of the giants of Nineteenth Century American historical writing..., began his literary career west of the Mississippi. A tour of the Great Plains in 1846 seems hardly a means to regaining health and vigor, but with this goal in mind young Parkman, in fragile health and in danger of losing his eyesight, set out. His daily notes became the material for his first book..." (Wagner-Camp). Second printing, done in early April, 1849, just a few weeks on the heels of the first printing in mid-March, with terminal advertisements numbered 1-6, 8, Leavitt, Trow & Co. imprint on copyright, no page reference of frontispiece, and with the spine lettering of the author's name in a serifed typeface. This printing was limited to 500 copies; following the 1000 copies of the first printing. BAL 15446; Cowan p.474; Graff 3201; Howes P97; Wagner-Camp 170:1b.