Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970. First Edition. Complete in 4 volumes & map portfolio. 8vo. Various paginations. Illustrationstaken from the plates of Fremont's reports, memoirs and various other sources; Index. 5 folding maps in text volumes; Map Portfolio contains Text Commentary by Donald Jackson & 5 folding maps (Map 4 in 7 sections). Original tan cloth gilt stamped at spine and front cover. All four volumes are fine copies in illustrated dust jackets (Volume 1 dustjacket priceclipped); Map Portfolio is in fine condition. Item #20731
During the years 1842 - 1854, John Fremont led five expeditions into the West. On the first, he surveyed the Platte “up to the head of the Sweetwater;” on the second, of fourteen months duration, he made a circuit of the entire West, launching his India-rubber boat on the Great Salt Lake on the outbound trip and examining Utah Lake on the return. The third expedition took him across the Salt Lake Desert and also involved him in the struggle to wrest California from Mexico and eventually in a court-martial trial which ended his government-sponsored explorations. The fourth, a winter expedition designed to ascertain the feasibility of a central railroad route, became stranded in the snows of the rugged San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The fifth and final expedition, which also had a railroad objective, was saved from disaster by the Mormons of Parowan. Fremont’s grandest achievement was in exploring the West and making it known through his lively, readable reports (prepared with the help of his wife) and his maps (drawn with the assistance of Charles Preuss). They seem to have been influential in the Mormons’ decision to settle in the Salt Lake Valley. He also discovered and named the Great Basin as a geologic and geographic entity and established the correct elevation of the Great Salt Lake at 4,200 feet. Although the title of this Jackson-Spence magnum opus suggests that these volumes are mere reprints of the Fremont reports, they are much more than that. This is undoubtedly the definitive work on Fremont covering the years of his career in surveying and exploration from 1838 to 1854. Jackson and Spence have reproduced all the available correspondence and documents that are related to the expeditions as well as to Fremont's personal affairs up to 1854. They have also provided perceptive and detailed biographical introductions to each volume, extensively annotated the second part of Volume 2 (separate volume labeled Vol. 2 Supplement is a reprint of "The Proceedings of the Court Martial in the Trial of Lieutenant Colonel Fremont"). The fourth map in the portfolio is the famous map of the route of the second expedition in seven parts drawn by Charles Preuss.