Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2004 Issue

North American Exploration<br>From Helen R. Kahn Rare Books


Helen Kahn's Lewis & Clark, Western Exploration, and Louisiana Purchase.

By Michael Stillman

Helen R. Kahn and Associates Rare Books
has recently released a catalogue of Americana focused on the "Lewis & Clark Expedition, Western Exploration, Louisiana Purchase." For those who collect books on the western exploration of America, this catalogue cannot be missed. You will find many if not most of the principal works covering the pre-1850 journeys into and across the heartland.

Undoubtedly the most collectible of all these travel narratives is the one commonly known as "Lewis and Clark," but technically History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark...prepared for the press by Paul Allen. Helen Kahn offers a copy of the first edition, printed in Philadelphia in 1814. This copy lacks the original map, but comes with one of 150 numbered copies made from the original copper plate by the American Philosophical Society. Item 41. The price reflects the absence of the map - $25,000 for an item otherwise priced in six figures. Item 42 is the first London edition of this same work, also printed in 1814, and complete with the map. $29,500.

There are several more Lewis and Clark related items in the catalogue. Item 40 is the 1809 unauthorized and unproofed The Travels of Capts. Lewis & Clarke...(Clark spelled his name without an "e").With serious delays in the official version, which was not published until 1814, and great interest in the journey from the public, some unauthorized reports were prepared. This is one. $5,000. Item 24 is Patrick Gass' A Journal of the Voyages and Travels of a Corps of Discovery under the Command of Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clarke... (Gass couldn't spell Clark's name either). Gass was a member of the expedition and published his work in 1807, the first book about the journey to be released. $11,500. Item 15 is a more recent book (1970) which contains biographies of most of the participants in the famed expedition. It is called The Men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition: a Biographical Roster of the Fifty-one Members and a Composite Diary of their Activities from All Known Sources, by Charles Clarke. And yes, this Clarke spells his name with an "e". $450.

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