Most of the mountain men were illiterate, or at least not literate enough to leave a written record of their lives. A handful of exceptions, most of them published, provide the best contemporary view of trapper life. They are included in the following bibliography. Prominent and obscure alike claim biographies of widely varying merit. The single most valuable source for these men is the monumental compilation edited by LeRoy R. Hafen, Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, 10 vols. (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1965–72).
The Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis provides the richest single depository of manuscript sources of the fur trade on the Missouri River and in the Rocky Mountains. I have accessed the Chouteau Collection by microfilm, in the excellent edition compiled and edited by William R. Swagerty. This is titled "Papers of the St. Louis Fur Trade," issued by University Publications of America, Bethesda, Maryland. Part 1 is the Chouteau Collection, 1752–1925. Part 2 is Fur Company Ledgers and Account Books, 1802–1871. For my purposes, Part 1 has been the most useful. The Missouri Historical Society is also the home of the Sublette and Campbell Collections, which are not included in the microfilm publication of the Papers of the St. Louis Fur Trade.
This brings me to Dale L. Morgan, that exceptional and indefatigable scholar of the fur trade and many other western topics. Morgan's papers at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, contain transcripts of documents from the Sublette and Campbell Collections. Because they are on microfilm, I have used his transcriptions rather than the originals.
An indispensable source for fur-trade history is newspapers, especially the St. Louis newspapers. Again Dale Morgan has done much of my research for me. He made transcripts of nearly every item bearing on the history of the West in the newspapers of twenty-four states. Where my notes credit no other source for a newspaper citation, a Morgan transcript is the source. Copies of many of these transcripts (but not all) are in the Dale Morgan Collection at the Utah State Historical Society in Salt Lake City.