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|25. DALE, Harrison
Clifford (ed.) (1885-1971). The Ashley-Smith Explorations and
the Discovery of a Central Route to the Pacific, 1822-1829, with the
Original Journals.... Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1918.
352 pp., 2 maps, 3 plates. 8vo, original red cloth, t.e.g. Binding faded
and lightly worn, interior very fine. California Thespian Jean Hersholt’s
copy with gilt bookplate on front pastedown (Talbot, Historic California
in Bookplates, pp. 230-31, illustrated).
First edition. Clark & Brunet, The Arthur H. Clark Company 55: “One of the basic works in fur trade history.” Cowan II, p. 154. Edwards, Enduring Desert, p. 64: “Jedediah Smith is the first known white man to come into California via the overland route from the east, crossing the Mojave Desert into Los Angeles.” Howes D21. Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 25. Mattes, Platte River Road Narratives 6. Paher, Nevada 427. Plains & Rockies IV:34n. Zamorano 80 #25. With this lot we include a companion volume to Dale relating to the cartography of the Ashley-Smith exploration: MORGAN, D. L. & C. I. Wheat. Jedediah Smith and His Maps of the American West. San Francisco: Printed by Lawton Kennedy for the California Historical Society, 1954.  86 pp., 7 maps (6 folding). Tall folio, original rose cloth. Spine faded, else fine. First edition, limited edition (530 copies printed). Evans 33. Harding, Wheat 108. Libros Californianos, pp. 78 (Powell commentary): “Trapper, trader, and first white man overland into California, Jed Smith is here given the fullest treatment possible in view of the scarcity of material about him.” (2 vols.) ($600-1,200)
This handsome Arthur H. Clark publication is credited with rescuing
Jedediah Smith from obscurity. Dale L. Morgan, the great scholar of overland
travel and biographer of Smith, praised Dale’s book for opening “new
vistas in fur-trade history.” Dale, a professor of political science
at the University of Wyoming, produced one of the seminal books concerning
the exploration of the Far West. He proved that Smith deserved the appellation
of “Pathfinder” before John C. Frémont. The basis for his book consisted
of several manuscripts he discovered in the collections of the Missouri
Historical Society. In his introduction, he summarized the contents of
his book: “The narratives of these explorations comprising a recently
discovered manuscript account by William H. Ashley, describing his journey
to and down Green River, in 1824-1825, a letter of Jedediah Smith, covering
his first expedition to California, an unpublished letter, also by him,
describing his second expedition through California to Fort Vancouver,
and the unpublished fragmentary journals of Harrison G. Rogers, covering
both the Smith expeditions.” Dale supported these documents with extensive
footnotes and biographies of Ashley and Smith.
——Gary F. Kurutz
Additional sources consulted: George R. Brooks, editor, The Southwest Expedition of Jedediah S. Smith: His Personal Account of the Journey to California, 1826–1827 (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1977); Harvey L. Carter, “Jedediah Smith,” in The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1971), vol. 8, pp. 331-48; Dale L. Morgan, Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964); David J. Weber, The Californios versus Jedediah Smith 1826-1827: A New Cache of Documents (Spokane: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1990).