39. FRÉMONT, J[ohn] C[harles] (1819-1890) [& Jessie Benton Frémont (1824-1902)]. Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-’44.... Printed by Order of the Senate of the United States. Washington: [Senate 174, 28th Congress, 2nd Session] Gales and Seaton, Printers, 1845. 693 pp., 22 lithographic plates (views, fossils, botany, 19 by Weber), 5 lithographic maps [see list of maps below]. Thick 8vo, original dark brown blindstamped cloth, spine gilt-lettered (expertly rebacked, original spine preserved). Light shelf wear, occasional mild to moderate foxing, rear endpaper pocket splitting at top, generally a fine copy, the large map excellent, much better than usually found, with only mild browning at folds and a few clean, short splits. Bookplate of Donald Culross Peattie on front pastedown.
 [Untitled emigrant route in Bear River Valley] (47 x 22.5 cm; 18-1/2 x 8-7/8 inches).
 Beer Springs (22.5 x 14.5 cm; 8-7/8 x 5-7/8 inches).
 The Great Salt-Lake (22.5 x 14.5 cm.; 8-7/8 x 5-7/8 inches).
 [Untitled map of the crossing of the Sierra Nevada by the South Fork of the American River] (22.5 x 64 cm; 8-7/8 x 25-1/4 inches).
 Map of an Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, Oregon & North California in the Years 1843-44 by Brevet Capt. J. C. Fremont of the Corps of Topographical Engineers Under the Orders of Col. J. J. Abert, Chief of the Topographical Bureau. Lith. by E. Weber & Co., Baltimore, Md. (76.5 x 128 cm; 30-1/8 x 50-3/8 inches). Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 497; Maps of the California Gold Region 21.First edition, the Senate issue, with the astronomical and meteorological observations omitted from the House issue and subsequent editions. Cowan I, pp. 91, 269. Cowan II, p. 223. Edwards, Enduring Desert, pp. 89-90. Graff 1436. Grolier American Hundred 49. Hill, pp. 112-13. Holliday 396. Howell 50, California 88. Howes F370. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 39. Mintz, The Trail 165. Plains & Rockies IV:115:1. Schwartz & Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, pp. 262, 271-78. Streeter Sale 3131: “Though the [large folding] map is unsigned, Lt. G. K. Warren in his Memoir, p. (45), says ‘it was drawn by Charles Preuss, whose skill in sketching topography in the field and representing it on the map has probably never been surpassed.’ Though the Oregon Trail and the Spanish Trail had been regularly used for a few years there were no dependable maps. For other parts of Frémont’s route, much of the recording of his map was new, including the whole extent of the Sierra Nevada Range, the California rivers from the American River south, and the three Colorado rivers.—TWS.” Tweney, The Washington 89 #22. Walgren, The Scallawagiana Hundred: A Selection of the Hundred Most Important Books about the Mormons and Utah 29. Walker, A Literary History of Southern California, pp. 172-73: “As the coauthor of Frémont’s report [Jessie Benton Frémont] exerted as much influence on expanding America as any woman of her day.” Zamorano 80 #39.
Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 497 & II, pp. 194-200: “[Frémont’s report and map] changed the entire picture of the West [and] represented as important a step forward from the earlier western maps of the period as did those of Pike, Long, and Lewis and Clark in their day.... [Frémont’s map] represented trustworthy direct observation, a new, welcome, and long overdue development in the myth-encrusted cartography of the West. To Frémont and his magnificent map of his Second Expedition all praise. An altogether memorable document in the cartographic history of the West, and for it alone Frémont would deserve to be remembered in history.... This map marked not only the end but the beginning of an era”; Maps of the California Gold Region 21: “[Frémont’s] large map showing Frémont’s routes, had wide circulation and was used as a base for a number of later maps.... This volume also contains a map, on a scale of three miles to one inch, showing the entire course of the ‘Rio de los Americanos’ from the region of ‘Mountain Lake’ [Lake Tahoe] to its junction with the Sacramento, below ‘New Helvetia.’” Wheat points out that the 1845 Frémont-Preuss map served as a basis for the 1848 Frémont-Preuss map (see California 49: Forty-Nine Maps of California from the Sixteenth Century to the Present 27n). ($1,000-2,000)
39A. FRÉMONT, J[ohn] C[harles] [& Jessie
Benton Frémont]. Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the
Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California,
in the Years 1843-’44. London: Wiley & Putnam, 1846. 324 pp., 4
lithographic plates by Day & Haghe, large folding lithographic map:
Map of the Western & Middle Portions of North America,
to Illustrate “The History of California, Oregon & the Other Countries.
On the North West Coast of America” by Robert Greenhow [below rule]:
London, Wiley & Putnam (58 x 64 cm; 23-7/8 x 25-1/4
inches). 8vo, original navy blue blindstamped cloth, spine gilt-lettered.
Minor shelf wear (extremities chipped), spine slightly faded, some spotting
and staining to covers, hinges cracked, occasional light foxing, old
tape repair (approximately 5 cm) to map at juncture with book block, generally
a very good copy, the text for the most part clean and bright, the map
excellent except for the tape repair on verso which does not show on
the face of the map. Armorial bookplate of Chase.
John C. Frémont’s Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky
Mountains...and to Oregon and California can only be described as
one of the monumental works of Western exploration. Although preceded
by mountain men and immigrants, Frémont opened the West to an entire
nation. By accurately describing this vast territory from the Missouri
River to the Pacific Ocean, his government report became the vade mecum
of Manifest Destiny. Its words, maps, and pictures paved the way for
future waves of overlanders culminating in the flood tide of the Gold
Rush. Historians from Hubert Howe Bancroft (q.v.) to William H. Goetzmann
bestowed upon the “Pathfinder” the highest praise for his accomplishments
as a scientific explorer. The celebrated savant, Alexander von Humboldt,
congratulated Frémont as a geographer and explorer and Brigham Young,
the great Mormon prophet, read with keen interest his description of
the Salt Lake Valley and its potential as a new Zion. Frémont, as he
readily acknowledged, benefited from a superb supporting cast beginning
with his wife and amanuensis, Jesse Benton Frémont; his powerful father-in-law,
Senator Thomas Hart Benton; and his courageous and knowledgeable scouts
and scientists including Kit Carson, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Alexis Godey,
and Charles Preuss. His reports and those of his later expeditions made
him a national hero and a charismatic symbol of American expansionism.
——Gary F. Kurutz
Additional sources consulted: Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of California (San Francisco: The History Company, 1886), vol. 4, pp. 435-44; William Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire, pp. 240-50; Allan Nevins, Frémont: Pathmarker of the West (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1955), pp. 89-205.
Item 39. Frémont’s Report and map, which “changed the entire
picture of the West” (Wheat).
Item 39. Untitled map showing New Helvetia to Salmon Trout River.
Item 39. Lithograh of Pyramid Lake from Frémont’s Report
Item 39. Pass in the Sierra Nevada of California, lithograph from Frémont’s report (1845).