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MtMan-List: Lewis & Clark's Journals and History



There is a confusion here about Lewis & Clark sources and their short-hand
names :

	"The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition," still
inexpensively available in Dover, edited by Eliot Coues, whose broad
footnotes run deep, is a major L&C source. This _History_  should not be
confused with the Lewis & Clark _Journals_.
	The "History" is a redactment and rephrasing of L&C's original
journals made by Nicolas Biddle, who was, after several of the numerous
false starts that plagued getting the journals to print, chosen for the
task by Thomas Jefferson. Biddle's task was to 'make literary' and to
'tame'  the words written in the rough by the two Captains. Clark,
especially, was embarassed by his self-perceived inadequacies of
expression. Today, I find Clark the most appealing and charming in
expression, syntax and orthography of the expedition's several authors. The
"History"  was first published in 1814 with some guidance and advice of
William Clark and one or two of the men. This printed edition for nearly a
century  was the only source for Lewis & Clark materials. We had no
original manuscripts to consult.
	When Elliott Coues undertook his editing (which consisted  mostly
of writing such extensive notes his publisher feared the notes would
overwhelm the text) of Biddle's "History," he discovered in the vaults of
the American Philosophical Society the _original_  hand-written journals
kept by L&C daily during their journey west and back---journals, in fact,
that were kept in draft form and then rewritten as 'fair copy,' so that
several versions of each day's events are recorded. These, the true
"Journals," with daily entries complete and intact,  were subsequently
edited  by Rueben Thwaites and published complete just after the turn of
the century.
	A new edition of the "Journals," edited by Gary Moulton, is just
now nearing completion in a 13-volume edition (University of Nebraska
Press).  This modern edition has as well those known journals kept by
several of the sargeants and one enlisted man and includes Lewis' journal
of his descent of the Ohio to rendezvous with the company at Wood River,
Illinois preparatory to their start up the Missouri.  Of interest to modern
mountain-men is Clark's account of the over-wintering company at Wood River
in a shooting competition with the recently arrived local settlers. The
settlers won.
	Jerry's confusing his short-hand terms for these sundry works and
editions. The "History" is not the original words of L&C as they penned
them to paper by the river's side.  The "Journals" are. It is correct to
say the Biddle "History." the Coues "History," the Thwaites "Journals," the
Moulton "Journals."
	For readers who find Moulton's 13-volumes a daunting prospect, a
very fine one-volume pbk edition of the "Journals" is still available,
edited by the incomparable Bernard DeVoto. There is available another
one-volume edition, the editor's name escapes me but is also a good, brief
source for 'highlights' of the expedition. Keep in mind, though, these
abridgements necessarily lose the immediacy, the sense that one is reading
the words over the shoulder of he who pens them, that the complete editions
of the "Journals" give.
	There is a fascinating book, out-of-print but at many good
libraries: "The History of the Lewis & Clark Journals" (whose title deftly
highlights the confusion we sometimes suffer) by Paul Russell Cutright
(pub. 1976) which discusses the vagaries of the journal's fortunes, Coues'
discovery of them and the scandal that ensued, the various major historians
who have done work on the "Journals" and the "History." Cutright is a
lively and entertaining writer who also, on the subject, wrote "Lewis &
Clark: Pioneering Naturalists," which first brought to our attention the
unappreciated contribution made by L&C to natural history, anthropology and
ethnography (on ethnography: see also James Ronda's "Lewis & Clark Among
the Indians").
	For  L&C sources, one last should be mentioned: _The Letters of the
Lewis & Clark Expedition_, U of Illinois Press, Donald Jackson, editor,
still in print @ $70 which gathers in two volumes (get the superior and
more complete 2nd edition) all the correspondence generated by the
planning, execution and results of the expedition. Donald Jackson is one of
the great L&C historians, see also his _Thomas Jefferson and the Stony
Mountains_  as well his other works.
	With Jerry, I too recommend joining the Lewis & Clark Trail
Heritage Association, which puts out a quarterly journal containing in each
number at least one article of serious L&C scholarship.

Bruce Mitzit
	The Architectural Photograph
	Chicago, IL


>Ken,
>
>I don't know if this will help, but I have done some intrepretation of the
>Corps of Discovery for some schools and have done some research on the
>topic.  Unfortunately, haven't had the time to do all the research I've
>wanted to but let me tell you where I've looked and you can take it from
>there.
>
>First start with the Journals.  I would recommend the version by Dover Books
>edited by Elliott Coues.  It is as follows:
>
>Meriwether Lewis & William Clark, "The History of the Lewis and Clark
>Expedition, Edited by Elliott Coues in three volumes,"  Dover Publications,
>Inc., New York, 1893.  ISBN: 0-486-21268-8
>
>It tells all about the history of the different versions in the introduction
>and this seems to be the most complete.  If I remember correctly, it
>mentions clothing in it and has a lot of really great information for the
>Lewis & Clark buff.  It is the complete version with nothing edited out.
>
>Another version which might be helpful is the version edited by Frank
>Bergon.  Although it is edited down quite a bit, it has a list of articles
>purchased for the expedition that the Coues version doesn't have.  It is as
>follows:
>
>"The Journals of Lewis and Clark," edited by Frank Bergon.  Penguin Books,
>New York, 1989.  ISBN: 0-14-017006-5
>
>Finally, I would recommend joining an organization called, The Lewis and
>Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.  They can be reached at:
>
>Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Inc.
>Membership Secretary
>P.O. Box 3434
>Great Falls, MT 59403
>
...more deleted...
>
>Best Regards,
>
>Jerry (Meriwether) Zaslow #1488